List of Salvia species

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Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the family Lamiaceae, with the number of species estimated to range from 700 to nearly 1,000. Members include shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and annuals. There are three main regions of radiation of Salvia: Central and South America, with approximately 500 species; central Asia and the Mediterranean with approx. 250 species; eastern Asia with approximately 90 species.[1]

The naming of distinct Salvia species has undergone regular revision, with many species being renamed, merged, and reclassified over the years. Salvia officinalis (common sage), for example, has been cultivated for thousands of years, yet has been named and described under six different scientific names since 1940. At one time there were over 2,000 named species and subspecies. The most recent revision, by Gabriel Alziar of the Jardin botanique de la Ville de Nice, has consolidated the number of different species to approximately 700. As new discoveries are made, the taxonomic list of Salvia species will continue to change.[2][3][4]

The first significant accounting of the genus was done by George Bentham in 1832-1836, based on a similarity in staminal morphology between Salvia members.[5] His work, Labiatarum Genera et Species (1836), is still the most comprehensive organization of Salvia. Even though there were only 291 species at that time, he still considered the possibility of forming five or six genera, due to differences between certain groups of Salvia. Bentham eventually organized the genus into four subgenera and twelve sections, based on differences in the corolla, calyx, and stamens. In the last 100 years, that system of organization is generally not endorsed by botanists.[2]

The classification of Salvia has long been based on the genus' unusual pollination and stamen structure, which was presumed to have evolved only once. More recently, a study using DNA sequencing of Salvia species has shown that different versions of this lever mechanism have evolved at least three different times within Salvia. This clearly makes the genus non-monophyletic, which means that members of the genus have evolved from different ancestors, rather than sharing one common ancestor. The DNA analysis has shown that the genus may consist of as many as three different clades, or branches.[1] The study concluded that Salvia is not a natural genus—some of its branches have a closer relationship to other genera in the tribe Mentheae than to other Salvia species.[6]

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  1. ^ a b Jay B. Walker, Kenneth J. Sytsma, Jens Treutlein and Michael Wink (2004). "Salvia (Lamiaceae) is not monophyletic: implications for the systematics, radiation, and ecological specializations of Salvia and tribe Mentheae". American Journal of Botany 91 (7): 1115–1125. doi:10.3732/ajb.91.7.1115. PMID 21653467. 
  2. ^ a b Sutton, John (2004). The Gardener's Guide to Growing Salvias. Workman Publishing Company. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-88192-671-2. 
  3. ^ Clebsch, Betsy; Carol D. Barner (2003). The New Book of Salvias. Timber Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-88192-560-9. 
  4. ^ Alziar, Gabriel (1988). Catalogue synonymique des Salvia du monde (Lamiaceae) (in French). Nice: Muséum d'histoire naturelle. 
  5. ^ El-Gazzar, A., L. Watson, W. T. Williams, and G. N. Lance (1968). "The taxonomy of Salvia: a test of two radically different numerical methods". Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Botany 60 (383): 237–250. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1968.tb00087.x. 
  6. ^ Sytsma, Ken; Jay B. Walker. "Molecular phylogenetics, evolution, and classification of Salvia and related Mentheae". Salvia Research Network. Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved 5 August 2010.