Phlomis fruticosa - Jerusalem Sage

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Lamiales - Family: Lamiaceae

Jerusalem Sage


Phlomis fruticosa is a perennial evergreen shrub, growing to a metre in height, with very woolly grey leaves. The tubular yellow flowers are typically 3cm long and are borne in whorls above one another.


This member of the Mint family occurs in Italy, Sardinia and eastwards including Cyprus. It also grows in Crete, but it is rarer there.

Phlomis fruticosa, Jerusalem Sage

Thisl evergreen shrubgrows to a height of 1m with a typical spread of 1.5. The wrinkled sage-like, oval leaves, 5 to 10cm long, are grey-green on top with white undersides; they are aromatic and covered with fine hairs. Tubular two-lipped yellow flowers, up to 3cm in length, grow in whorls of typically 20. Usually there is just one whorl, but occasionally more, on each stem.

Blooming times

Jerusalem Sage flowers from April through to June.


This striking wildflower is found on coastal cliffs and other rocky places.

Similar species

Of the three species of Phlomis that occur in Crete, Jerusalem Sage Phlomis fruticosa is the rarest, and although similar in appearance to Phlomis cretica, Phlomis fruticosa is a much larger and less tomentose (velvety) shrub. Phlomis lanata, the other Phlomis found in Crete, has much more rounded leaves than Phlomis cretica which can also be found in southern Greece. (Phlomis lanata is endemic to Crete.)


The specific epither fruticosa is nothing to do with fruit; it means 'shrubby' - in the form of a bush - a reference to the growing habit of this shrub.


This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Anne Horsfall.

The specimens shown on this page were photographed in Crete.

Sue Parker's latest ebook is a revised and enlarged second edition of the acclaimed Wildflowers in the Algarve - an introductory guide. Full details here...

Buy it for just £3.95 on Amazon...

Sue Parker's 5-star acclaimed field guide to the Wild Orchids of the Algarve is now available as an ebook. Full details here...

Buy it for just £5.95 on Amazon...

Please Help Us: If you have found this information interesting and useful, please consider helping to keep First Nature online by making a small donation towards the web hosting and internet costs.

Any donations over and above the essential running costs will help support the conservation work of Plantlife, the Rivers Trust and charitable botanic gardens - as do author royalties and publisher proceeds from books by Pat and Sue.

© 1995 - 2024 First Nature: a not-for-profit volunteer-run resource

Please help to keep this free resource online...

Terms of use - Privacy policy - Disable cookies - Links policy