Salvia madrensis (Forsythia Sage) is a large and visually striking yellow-flowered Salvia native to the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range in Mexico. The specific name "madrensis" refers to the high mountains where it grows. I noticed this specimen growing in Mounts Botanical Center garden.
Forsythia Sage is a robust salvia that can grow up to 10 ft tall and spread 4-5 ft wide. Forsythia Sage grows in a spreading clump. The plant spends the first part of the growing season putting out 4-7 foot stems that are thick and square with ridges on each corner of the stem. It has large, bright green, heart shaped, rather rough leaves graduating in size from large at the bottom to smaller at the top, giving a lush covering to the plant. The leaves and the spreading branches are produced in pairs, originating on opposite sides of the stem.
Numerous 12-in inflorescences are covered with softly colored butter-yellow flowers held in whorls. The calyces produce a musky scent (somewhat reminiscent of cannabis hemp) and are covered with sticky resinous glands. The stickiness washes away easily with water, but the scent persists. Blooming begins in late August. Forsythia Sage is one of very few salvias with yellow flowers. It produces its showy blooms in late fall and early winter when many flowering shrubs and perennials are beginning to go dormant. Give it plenty of room in a shaded or semi-shaded perennial or mixed shrub border. Or let it stand alone beneath tall oaks or pines. You may need to stake forsythia sage to keep it from falling over. The butter-yellow flowers, arranged in whorls, are attractive as cut flowers.
Botanical Name: Salvia Madrensis Forsythia Sage
Sun Exposure: Partial sun to full shade
Soil Types/Tolerance: Normal, loamy, well drained – water regularly
Plant Habit: Upright semi-woody shrub, heavy flower spikes tend to pull it down, may need staking
Width: 4 ft - 5 ft Height: 10 ft
Foliage Color: Spinach Green
Flower Color: Butter-yellow, musky odor
Bloom Season: Late Fall to Winter
Seasons Of Interest: Fall / Winter
Uses: Ornamental, Wildflower / Butterfly Garden, perennial mixed shrub border
Additional Features: Attractive to bees, some butterflies, hummingbirds
Special Resistance: Pest Resistant
Propagation: Propagated by cuttings or by dividing root mass