(Purple Prince Lyreleaf Sage or Cancerweed) Due to its short height and reddish-purple, veined leaves, Purple Prince Lyreleaf Sage often is descriped as looking like Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans).
Barely discernible, the flowers of Lyreleaf Sages bloom in spring and summer. It is the dramatic basal foliage -- including the purplish stems and calyxes of its flower spikes -- that makes this plant attractive.
Purple Prince is a compact 8 inches tall except when its flower spikes increase its height to 18 inches. It has reddish-purple foliage in contrast to the deep purple of Purple Volcano, another variety of Lyreleaf Sage that we grow. Both are adaptable from full sun to full shade. These are heat- and cold-tolerant plants that are perennial in USDA Zones 5 to 11.
Lyreleaf Sages love water, but can get by on average watering based on local conditions. They also aren't picky about soils, but reseed easily in loose, sandy ground. Although endangered in New York, this American native species can be invasive where sandy soil and steady moisture are available. It grows wild in 25 states from Kansas east to New Jersey and in the South from Texas to Florida.
Lyreleaf refers to the shape of the heavily lobed leaves as being similar to a musical lyre. Consumed in salads when its leaves are young and in teas, the species has a weak, minty flavor. Its other prevalent common name, Cancerweed, refers to a long history as a medicinal plant. Native Americans made salves and infusions from Lyreleaf Sages for ailments including asthma, colds, constipation and diarrhea.
Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds all love this plant and so do we.
Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.
If you live in suburbs or rural areas where deer plunder gardens, Salvias (sages) can be part of your plan for discouraging these hungry visitors. Here are some tips.