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Phlomis fruticosa - Jerusalem Sage

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

Jerusalem Sage

Identification

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.

Distribution

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.

Habitat

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.)

Etymology

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.

Acknowledgements

This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Anne Horsfall.

The specimens shown on this page were photographed in Crete.


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