Chumash: xapšǝx (’alixšanutš) Español: Salvia Mayor/Real
Origin: coastal sage scrub habitat of Southern California and Baja California
Flower Color: Lavender spotted or white
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Drought Tolerant: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25° F
The whitish evergreen leaves have oils and resins that release a strong aroma when rubbed. The flowers are very attractive to bees. This shrub is also know as white sage, bee sage, or sacred
sage. The Chumash name for this plant is we'wey. Bee sage is widely used by Native American groups on the Pacific coast of the United States. The seed was a main ingredient of pinole, a staple food. The Cahuilla harvested large quantities of the seed that was mixed with wheat flour and sugar for gruel or biscuits.
The White Sage leaves and stems were eaten by the Chumash and other tribes. Several tribes used the seed for removing foreign objects from the eye. The seeds have a mucilaginous coat, which is why some old herbals recommended placing a seed into the eye of someone with a foreign object in it so that it could adhere to the object and make it easy to remove. The leaves are also burnt by many native American tribes, with the smoke used in different purification rituals.