What Are the Different Varieties of Sage?

What Are the Different Varieties of Sage?

Brandegee, white, pineapple, tricolor and common are different varieties of sage. Common, or garden sage, derives its name from its general use as a culinary ingredient.

The botanical name for common sage is Salvia officinalis. It grows to approximately 30 inches and thrives in perennial zones five to nine. The color of its leaves ranges from green to light purple. Common sage tends to attract bees and butterflies and is deer-resistant.

Berggarten sage is another commonly used edible sage. Its variegated cousin, Salvia officinalis Berggarten variegata, has broad green leaves with gray-white trim and a somewhat peppery flavor. Chefs use both forms in soups, stuffing and sausages.

Brandegee sage, or Salvia brandegeei, takes its name from the botanist who discovered it, Mary Katharine Brandegee. Its common name, Island Black Sage, indicates the place where Brandegee first encountered it, on Santa Rosa Island, a channel island of California. Island Black Sage is cobalt blue and grows up to 48 inches.

Pineapple sage smells like pineapple and has edible red flowers. It is a perennial shrub that grows up to 36 inches. Its fragrance attracts hummingbirds, and its palatable flavor translates favorably to herbal teas, fruit salad and desserts. Its botanical name is Salvia elegans.

Tricolor sage has leaves that are variegated green, purple and white. It is fragrant and grows annually to about 24 inches. It tolerates full sun and prefers dry-average soil.