Salvia Species, Cancer Weed, Lyreleaf Sage, Wild Sage

Salvia lyrata

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Salvia (SAL-vee-uh) (Info)
Species: lyrata (ly-RAY-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Salvia Salvia lyrata var. obovata
Synonym:Salvia obovata
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12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:

Light Blue



Medium Purple

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Cullman, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama

Encinitas, California

Menlo Park, California

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware

Bartow, Florida

Bokeelia, Florida

Deland, Florida

Eustis, Florida

Gulf Breeze, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Tampa, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Cordele, Georgia

Cornelia, Georgia

Barbourville, Kentucky

Benton, Kentucky

Henderson, Kentucky

La Place, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Vacherie, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Valley Lee, Maryland

Saucier, Mississippi

Frenchtown, New Jersey

Panama, New York

Holly Springs, North Carolina

New Bern, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Grove City, Ohio

New Freedom, Pennsylvania

Atoka, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas

Belton, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Denton, Texas

Dike, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Garland, Texas

Huntsville, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

Kendalia, Texas

Mont Belvieu, Texas

New Caney, Texas

North Richland Hills, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

Southlake, Texas

Spring, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas

Weatherford, Texas

Charlottesville, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Great Cacapon, West Virginia

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Gardeners' Notes:


On May 5, 2017, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

A really nice wildflower that I have seen in Delaware.


On Mar 29, 2017, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I plucked a blooming specimen off of the Mississippi River levee last year and planted it in a far corner of my yard. Now I have several dozen, in the yard, in cactus pots, in cracks in the driveway, etc. This thing breeds with a ferociousness I have seen in few other plants. City Park in New Orleans is also becoming overrun with it; parts of it right now look as though there is a lavender mist floating above it. Your neighbors may take you off the Christmas card list if you plant this one in your (and by extension, their) yard. Definitely a delightful looking and very tough plant, though. But how it's not on the invasive list (yes, I know it's a native) is beyond me.


On Dec 23, 2012, felicis from Natchitoches, LA wrote:

It does spread like wildfire, but I've let it. Half the front yard is a sea of the delicate lavender blooms in spring. Once it's finished I have it mown down (generally I go out and break off all the stalks first to make it easier). With the kind of record heat and droughts we've been having, I'm grateful for any native that wants to put on such a show.


On Apr 12, 2010, postoak7 from Statham, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Self-sows freely has been an under-statement for this plant in my experience in the GA piedmont. I invited 3 of these into my yard a couple of years ago and now have hundreds.


On Mar 29, 2009, mjsponies from DeLand/Deleon Springs, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Native salvia I love the purple/green leaves. Grows in a low rosette, that's nice to tuck in among other plants.
I just go dig em up and replant in my beds. I'll mow around them if I find a patch in the yard or pasture...


On Feb 8, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

American Indians used the root as a salve for sores. Whole plant tea was used for colds, coughs, and nervous debility. Used as a folk remedy for cancer and warts.


On Nov 12, 2003, plantzperson from Zachary, LA wrote:

This is a favorite plant I remember from my childhood days. I love the colors of the foliage & the airy look of the blooms. It will sometimes colonize along a road or in a pasture or the edge of the woods. It is a lovely sight to see when in bloom. I let it grow wild in my grass & yard, as I like the natural, woodland look. It can be mowed over & never look back! A rough & tough plant!


On Nov 11, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

A tough little plant and one of my favorite wildflowers. When mass blooming occurs, it looks like a vibrant blue mist hovering over the lawn (okay, I don't like manicured lawns - there, I've said it). I have them planted in a narrow strip (6 in. / 15 cm wide) along my driveway next to a fence and they are thriving there when nothing else I've tried even survived. Excellent companion plant to the Missouri Primrose Oenothera speciosa.


On Sep 7, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

There are variegated cultivars of this plant that are more attractive when not in bloom than the species. Seed generally comes true from these. Flower color can vary.


On Jan 9, 2003, ButterflyGardnr from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant reseeds readily. Most of the year it is a basal rosette of leaves from which a flower spike emerges. The flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies but the spikes are not laden with flowers (i.e. there is a lot of stem in between a few flowers). Spent bloom spikes should be cut off.