Several new sage species have been planted in recent months along the entrance to the Garden. Some of these are very rare species and one has even become extinct in the wild and can be found in Israel only in botanical gardens. More than 20 sage species, belonging to the mint family (Lamiaceae), are found in Israel. Eight of these are classified as 'red' (i.e., endangered) species. Three specimens of the sage Salvia bracteata were planted last winter and began flowering toward the end of spring. S. bracteata is a pink-flowered perennial herb that grows in dry Mediterranean scrublands. In the past, this species had occurred at isolated sites in the Judaean Mountains, but became extinct in those localities in 1995. In the early 1990s, several sage specimens were transferred to the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Giv'at Ram, where they were cultivated and then transferred to other refuge gardens. Attempts to rehabilitate the plants at wild sites in the Judaean Mountains have so far been unsuccessful.

Another rare sage that was planted together with S. bracteata is clary (Salvia sclarea). This sage is found in the wild along the Naftali ridge and is classified as a red (endangered) species. Those visiting our Botanic Garden in spring would have been probably impressed by the plant's beautiful mauve flowers and large leaves. S. sclarea is also a medicinal plant and a herb, providing an important source of Omega 3. Seven additional sage species were planted along with S. bracteata and S. sclarea, most of which are endangered or threatened in the wild.

You are welcome to visit our sages at the flowerbeds adjacent the Steinhardt Natural History museum.

ארבעה מיני מרווה

1. S. bracteata, photo: Yuval Sapir; 2. S. indica, photo: Gavri Sion; 3. S. spinosa, photo: Gavri Sion; 4. S. sclarea, photo: Moshe Peri

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