Salvia officinalis is an aromatic, rather woody perennial shrub in the mint family (Lamiaceae) native to the shores of the northern Mediterranean. Its common names include culinary sage, common garden sage or garden sage. Sage is often mentioned as the herb of immortality, domestic virtue, health, and wisdom. Sage was a sacred ceremonial herb of the Romans. It has been cultivated for both culinary and medicinal purposes for many centuries in Europe. It is hardy in zones 4-10.
The species can grow to 2½ feet tall but many cultivars are much shorter. The opposite leaves vary in color from gray to gray-green or may be purple or golden. They are are pebbly, slightly fuzzy and up to 5″ long. The stems are green at first but become woody in the second year. It tends to be a short-lived perennial and is often best replaced every few years.
Common sage blooms in early summer. The camphor-scented, bluish-lavender to pink-lavender flowers are borne in whorls on short, upright flower spikes. Each flower has two lips. The flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies and occasionally to hummingbirds.