Notes on Darcy's Sage

From Wikipedia, 12 December 2021:

"Salvia darcyi is a herbaceous perennial shrub native to a very small area at 9000 ft elevation in the eastern range of the Mexican Sierra Madre Oriental. Discovered in the wild in 1991, it has since been sold in horticulture under several names. Botanist James Compton named the plant after fellow British botanist John d'Arcy after a trip they made to the region in 1991.

Salvia darcyi reaches 3 feet in height, with stoloniferous roots that spread over time and deltoid pastel green leaves that are very sticky. The bright coral red flowers are 1.5 inches long on inflorescences that reach up to 2 feet."

From "Prairiebreak" blog:

"I have referred to Salvia darcyi glancingly in many posts over the last few years. Perhaps it's time to grasp the thistle (so to speak) and acknowledge this uber-sage, this conflagration, this burning bush of garden plants. Just a few days ago, Mark Kane (an old gardening friend and great horticulturist) commented casually as we strolled past a planting of this sage at DBG) that he was with Carl Schoenfeld and John Fairey (of the famed Yucca Do and Peckerwood Garden) in 1988 in Nuevo Leon when they first collected this taxon: at the time they thought it was Salvia oresbia. A few years later James Compton and William D'Arcy accompanied the Yucca Do meisters to the same spot, and the plant was subsequently named (or renamed?...I am not sure Charles Christopher Parry's collection of S. oresbia in 1878 might not be the same plant incidentally--which would wreak a bit of nomenclatural havoc...)"

From San Marcos Grower's website:

"This plant was originally discovered by Carl Schoenfeld and John Fairey of Yucca Do Nursery near Galena, Mexico, in 1988 and in 1991 they guided a British expedition that included British botanist James Compton to a site where it was found growing along a rocky limestone ravine at 9,000 feet in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range. Though originally called Salvia oresbia, Compton officially described it in a 1994 issue of the journal of Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, naming it after Canadian born botanist William G. D'Arcy, who accompanied him on the collection trip and so it is also commonly called Darcy's sage."

Primary source?
Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 2. May 1994.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION by Compton: "Herbs to 1.5m or more; stems and leaves densely glandular-pubescent; inflorescence whorls with 4-6 flowers... S. darcyi"

Carl Schoenfeld
John Fairey
Owners of Yucca Do Nursery
Main initiators on the "Yucca Do Expeditions," a series of excursions into the remote Mexican mountains. Their interest in the area came from an initial trip in 1988 with Lynn Lowery, where they gained their fascination with the region and its plants.

Info on one of their expeditions

James Compton
William G. D'Arcy - The plant is named after him

Lynn Lowery, horticulturalist and plant explorer Carl Schoenberg discusses his impressions of Lynn Lowery in an interview

Denver Botanical Gardens
Galena, Mexico/Sierra Madre
Yucca Do Nursery
John Fairey Garden/Peckerfield Garden - and

The last two are the same location, the Peckerfield Garden was apparently built over where the Yucca Do Nursery used to be.

-Longer petiole than Tropical Sage
-Scabrous texture, "papery" as described in an iNat observation
-"Pastel" green color
-Leaf deltoid, cordate base tapering inward to an attenuate margin
-Height of plant is quite tall, 3-4 feet?
-Some sort-of distinct aroma associated with it - a "pleasant aroma" as San Marcos Growers say, "herbaceous cat urine" as described in an iNat observation, or "sulfur" as a commenter on Prairiebreak blog suggests.
-Large prolific blooms, long blooming season

Synonym Salvia oresbia?

Posted on December 26, 2021 05:10 AM by arnanthescout arnanthescout


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