(san ye shu wei cao) So what do all those Pinyin words mean in this sage’s common name? We’ll give you an answer to the best of our ability in a minute. Meanwhile, we need to note that this medicinal Asian sage has handsome foliage and deep violet flowers.
|Common name This is the non-scientific name used for a plant. A plant may have several common names, depending on the gardener's location. To further confuse the matter, a common name may be shared by several completely different plants. At Flowers by the Sea, we rely on the scientific name to identify our plants and avoid confusion.
|san ye shu wei cao
|USDA Zones The U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones indicate the temperature zones where a plant is likely to thrive. It is determined by the average annual winter minimum temperature. Actual winter temperatures may be higher or lower than the average.
|6 - 9
|Size (h/w/fh) The anticipated mature size of the plant: Height, Width & Flower Height.
|Exposure This is the average amount of sunlight that a plant needs to thrive. Generally, full sun exposure is 6 or more hours of direct sun daily while partial shade is less than 4 hours of sun or dappled shade all day. Plants may tolerate more sunlight in cooler climates and need afternoon shade in extremely hot climates.
|Partial to full shade
|Soil type This is the kind of soil that a plant needs to thrive. Most plants require a well-drained soil that allows the water to soak into the soil without becoming soggy. Sandy and clay soils can be improved by digging in compost to improve drainage.
|Well drained & rich
|Water needs Plants have specific water requirements. Water loving means the plant needs regular watering to keep the soil moist. Average generally indicates applying 1 inch of water per week, or watering when the soil is dry to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. One inch of water is equal to 5 gallons per square yard of soil surface.
|Container plant? "Yes" indicates that this plant can be successfully grown as a container plant.
|Mature height The mature height of this plant in average conditions.
|1 to 2 feet
|Mature spread The mature width of this plant in average conditions.
|1 to 2 feet
So what do all those Pinyin words mean in this sage’s common name? We’ll give you an answer to the best of our ability in a minute. Meanwhile, we need to note that this medicinal Asian sage has handsome foliage and deep violet flowers.
The flower spikes bloom from summer to fall, attracting butterflies. This sage loves shade and water. Cold and heat tolerant, it grows well in USDA Zones 6 to 9.
Give it rich, well-drained soil similar to the kind where it is found in the wild. San ye shu wei cao grows along the margins of high-altitude forests that border grassy hillsides in Southwestern China. Its dark green, basal leaves are oval-to-heart shaped with pretty, scalloped margins. The foliage mound rises up 24 to 32 inches and spreads about the same distance.
Good uses include plantings in moist areas such as woodland gardens. This perennial sage also shows well in borders, along pathways where you can see it up close and as a groundcover.
Current medical research indicates that chemicals in this plant’s bright red taproots may be effective in battling liver cancer. Similar to many Asian sages, it has a long history of use in herbal remedies. The substances in its roots are used for a variety of medical purposes, including strengthening the immune system, stimulating circulation, soothing the mind, relieving restlessness and improving blood flow to the brain.
We don’t speak Chinese, but after a bit of searching, we discovered that the phrase ‘shu wei cao’ refers to sage. ‘San’ means ‘three’ and ‘ye’ means leaf. So it’s a three-leafed sage, which means that there are three leaves on each petiole.