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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
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The Cutting Edge

Volume XV, Number 1, January 2008

News and Notes | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick | Annotate your copy

SEASON'S PICK: Salvia lasiantha Benth. (Lamiaceae) is featured this season; a rare, disjunct species with horticultural potential.


Salvia lasiantha
Heart Break Ridge

This species flowers at the end of the rainy season and into the dry season, during the months November, December & January, but is not very showy in its seasonally dry, native habitat; by the time it is in full flower, the plants themselves are suffering the effects of drought. In Costa Rica it was first collected by Henri Pittier in 1888 on the slopes of Volcán Irazú, from where it has never again been recollected.  Back then it was thought to be a new species and was described as Salvia pittieri Briq., now considered a synonym of the species described from Mexico by Bentham in 1833.  It was not rediscovered in Costa Rica until 100 years later, by Francisco Morales, at one of his favorite and most productive haunts, the Cerro Caraigres region.


Salvia lasiantha
Salvia lasiantha - leaves

Like many of the plants on this limestone outcrop, Salvia lasaiantha does well "in captivity" where the beauty of its dark green and deeply bullate leaves that contrast with the woolly pubescence of its stem, makes up for the seasonality of its flowers.


Salvia lasiantha
Salvia lasiantha

The flower color of this species has most often been described as "dark red" but in fact, in live plants, newly opened corollas are a rather odd, dull orange, and progressively change to an equally strange, purplish red as the day progresses.  These photos by B. Hammel are vouchered by Hammel 24422 & 24443.

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