Salvia mellifera

California Black Sage

This plant grows naturally on dry slopes and chaparral throughout Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties. Its dark green foliage has a pungent scent that makes it favorable for burning as incense. White flowers bloom spring through summer. It is commonly found with California Gooseberry and Sticky Monkeyflower. This is the Salvia favored by bees and beekeepers.

Uses: Black Sage is used for various culinary purposes. The crushed leaves and stems can make a minty condiment. Black Sage is particularly susceptible to damage from air pollution, making it an effective air quality monitor in some parts of California.