This species has for many years been known as Salvia africana-caerulea, however, according to the rules of botanical nomenclature, hyphenated names are illegitimate.
This soft, grey-hairy shrub found naturally on the sandy flats in the south western Cape and is very well know for its aromatic as well as medicinal uses. While the leaves are greenish on the top, they are covered with grey hairs and glands on the underneath, which makes them strongly aromatic. The flowers appear in whorls in racemes, mauve to pink or blue with a silky calyx. It is cleverly designed to spread nectar onto the backs of bees when they land on the lower corolla. The seeds can be found inside the calyx, they will remain attached to it until the flower drops to the ground, falling out when mature.
Salvia comes from the Latin, salvere, meaning to save or heal, referring to the healing properties of these plants. The species name, africana, means of or from Africa.
Salvia africana was one of the first plants to be used medicinally by the Dutch at the Cape, who used it instead of sage.