Meadow clary Salvia pratensis

Status Amber - Vulnerable and Near-Threatened
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Habitat

This handsome plant has striking blue flowers in a spike on the stem and pleasantly aromatic leaves when crushed.

Distribution

Meadow Clary declined before 1950, mainly due to loss of grazing and the resulting smothering by coarser plants, and is still declining, now only found as a native population at 21 locations, mainly in Oxfordshire, the North and South Downs and the Chilterns. Its presence in other areas is probably owing to its introduction through now-popular ‘wild flower seed’ mixes.

Habitat

Chalk or limestone soils, usually in sunny, open grassland but also on south-facing hedge-banks and woodland margins.

Status

It is classified as Near Threatened and is specially protected under a 1992 amendment to Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is an offence to pick, uproot or damage any plants listed on Schedule 8.

Key threats

It is principally threatened by habitat change, often caused by the ploughing, fertilising and re-seeding of slopes for ‘improved’ grassland, as well as the continual loss of grazing.

Did you know?

The Latin name Salvia is related to Salus (health). The seeds of Meadow Clary were used in the past as a paste to remove particles from eyes and to reduce inflammation or redness. The name 'clary' is derived from 'clear-eye'. It was also used as a gargle for sore throats, and to clean teeth (Arkive). It has been used as a flavouring for beers and wines.

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Salvia prat visited by bee2 (c) Tim Wilkins PL.JPG

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