Salvia elegans, commonly called Pineapple sage, is a perennial shrub native to oak and pine scrub forests at 6,000-9000 ft. in the highlands of Mexico and Guatemala. It has tubular red flowers and an attractive scent to the leaves that is similar to pineapple. It produces numerous erect leafy stems and flowers in the late autumn.
The red flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. In a highland temperate forest in central Mexico, pineapple sage was found to be one of the three most-visited species by hummingbirds. It is a short-day plant. The flowering season in Mexico is August onward; further north it may not flower till later autumn, and if there are no frosts, it may flower till spring.
In cultivation, Pineapple sage grows to 1.2 - 1.5 m (4-5 ft.), with the roots extending underground to form a large clump. The pale yellow-green leaves are veined, and covered with fine hairs. Six to twelve scarlet flowers grow in whorls, with a long inflorescence that blooms gradually and over a prolonged period of time. With a hard frost, the plant will die down to the ground and grow back the following spring. Pineapple sage was introduced into horticulture about 1870.
The variety "Honey Melon", which has the same pineapple fragrance in the leaves, blooms early in the summer, rather than in autumn. Pineapple sage leaves are edible and can be steeped in hot water to make an herbal tea.
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