California Pitcher Sage (Lepichinia calycina) – a vignette

On a visit home to the bay area to wish grandma a great 80th birthday as well as to give my blessings to my best friend’s soon-to-be little baby, I took a walk in the hills above Palo Alto with my sister and her two daughters. I had the great fortune to come across a plant in those rolling oak meadows that I love very much – California pitcher sage. It’s a tad stinky, on edge of fetid like clary sage can be, and it also has a rich balsamic sage scent that carries the overall essence towards the pleasurable.

Lepichinia Pitcher Sage.JPG

It has a large, stature, with white bell like flowers on the ends of semi-herbaceous stems.

Lepechinia overall.JPG

You can grow this amazing  plant if you’re in the central California region- it’s easy to grow if you offer the conditions it loves – which include the gorgeous meadows edges along the hills encircling the bay area and likely beyond. Native Here Nursery offers plants for those of you in the East Bay – all their plants are propagated from locally collected seed, so each plant contributes to the overall genetic resilience of the species. A cousin, Lepichinia fragrans, occurs in Southern California.

I’ve never harvested it, as I’ve never found it in abundance – but the medicine I received from just a few minutes of inhaling its scent was all I needed to feel most blessed. Like its distant cousin white sage, it holds space for magic.

Published by Selena Rowan

Herbalist, educator, editor, farmer, botany afficionado

One thought on “California Pitcher Sage (Lepichinia calycina) – a vignette

Leave a Reply to Kimberly Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: