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Turkish sage is an attractive, long-flowering perennial. Within the horticultural trade it is sometimes known by the (misapplied) name Phlomis viscosa, because of its sticky leaves. The well-known gardener William Robinson (1838-1935) described the genus Phlomis as: 'A group of old-fashioned shrubs and perennial plants', and P. viscosa itself as: 'A rather clammy plant...with...numerous bright yellow flowers of fine effect'. Dr John Sims, who succeeded William Curtis as editor of Curtis's Botanical Magazine from 1799 to 1827, formally named this plant (as Phlomis lunariifolia var. russeliana, in 1825), but he confused it with a similar species (P. pungens Willd.) collected in Syria and illustrated by G.D. Ehret in Alexander Russell's The Natural History of Aleppo (1786).

Phlomis russeliana (Turkish sage)

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
Turkish sage is a stately plant, bearing whorls of hooded pale yellow flowers in summer and autumn.

Turkish sage is an attractive, long-flowering perennial. Within the horticultural trade it is sometimes known by the (misapplied) name Phlomis viscosa, because of its sticky leaves. The well-known gardener William Robinson (1838-1935) described the genus Phlomis as: 'A group of old-fashioned shrubs and perennial plants', and P. viscosa itself as: 'A rather clammy plant...with...numerous bright yellow flowers of fine effect'. Dr John Sims, who succeeded William Curtis as editor of Curtis's Botanical Magazine from 1799 to 1827, formally named this plant (as Phlomis lunariifolia var. russeliana, in 1825), but he confused it with a similar species (P. pungens Willd.) collected in Syria and illustrated by G.D. Ehret in Alexander Russell's The Natural History of Aleppo (1786).

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Restricted to Turkey, where it occurs mainly in the north, from Istanbul, east along the Black Sea coast to Rize, and south to Kutahya. It has been found at up to 1,700 m above sea level.

Description

Turkish sage is a herbaceous perennial, growing to about 90 cm tall, spreading above and below ground, with softly wrinkled, ovate leaves, grey-green on the upper side, whitish and densely hairy beneath. The hooded, yellow flowers appear from May to September, and are carried in whorls at intervals up the stout flowering stem. The flowers are about 3 cm long and are bee-pollinated. The fruit is a nutlet.

Uses

Turkish sage is cultivated as an ornamental, and holds the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. It is a good ground cover species, suppressing weeds. Recent laboratory research has been carried out to investigate the antibacterial activity of its essential oils, which show potential for use in the food industry.

Cultivation

Turkish sage is a hardy species of Phlomis , which can be grown in any good, well-drained soil, in sun or partial shade. It has a long flowering-period, stretching from late spring to early autumn. It does well in sunny borders in British gardens, and is drought tolerant when established. Propagation can be carried out by division of the clumps.

This species at Kew

Phlomis russeliana can be seen growing near Victoria Gate and in the Rock Garden at Kew.

Pressed and dried specimens of other species of Phlomis are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers from around the world, by appointment. 

Distribution
Turkey
Ecology
Coniferous and deciduous woodland, clearings and in hazel scrub.
Conservation
Not known to be threatened.
Hazards

None known.

[KSP]
Use
Ornamental.

Native to:

Turkey

Introduced into:

Austria, Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand South

English
Turkish sage

Phlomis russeliana (Sims) Lag. ex Benth. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Labiat. Gen. Spec.: 629 (1834)

Accepted by

  • (2019). https://www.zobodat.at/pdf/STAPFIA_0111_0097-0110.pdf epublication.
  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Hadinec, J. & Lustyk, P. (2017). Additamenta ad floram Reipublicae Bohemicae. XV. Zprávy Ceské Botanické Spolecnosti 52: 37-133.
  • Webb, C.J., Sykes, W.R & Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand 4: 1-1365. R.E.Owen, Government Printer, Wellington.

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Demirci, F. et al. (2008). Antibacterial activity of two Phlomis essential oils against food pathogens. Food Control 19: 1159-1164.
  • Huber-Morath, A. (1982). Labiatae: Phlomis russeliana. In: Flora of Turkey, Volume 7, ed. P.H. Davis. Edinburgh University Press.
  • Phillips, R. & Rix, M. (1991). Perennials, Volume 2. Pan Books Ltd.
  • Robinson, W. (1933). The English Flower Garden, 15th edition. London.
  • World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2010). The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • (2019). https://www.zobodat.at/pdf/STAPFIA_0111_0097-0110.pdf epublication.
  • Hadinec, J. & Lustyk, P. (2017). Additamenta ad floram Reipublicae Bohemicae. XV. Zprávy Ceské Botanické Spolecnosti 52: 37-133.
  • Webb, C.J., Sykes, W.R & Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand 4: 1-1365. R.E.Owen, Government Printer, Wellington.

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Science Photographs
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0