seeds of Salvia sclarea, Clary Sage

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Salvia sclarea Samen
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Salvia sclarea, also called clary sage or clary, is a herbaceous plant species of the family Lamiaceae. The plant’s synonyms include Salvia altilabrosa, Aeithiopis sclarea, and Salvia coarctata. The origins of the plant lie in North Africa, Central Asia, and the Mediterranean basin. The plant is currently distributed all over Europe, The Americas, Africa and large swaths of Asia. Salvia sclarea has hair distributed all over its squarish stems and the upper sides of its leaves. The plant can reach of height of 91 to 122 cm. Leaves located at the plant base are 30 cm long and twice as long as the leaves located on the upper part of the stem. Flowers grow within large colourful bracts in verticils of between 2 and six flowers. The flowers are pale blue while the colour of the bracts can be one of several colours; mauve, white, pink or pale blue. The plant has both male and female flowers (a hermaphrodite) which are mostly insect pollinated. The seeds of Salvia sclarea have had a very practical use since time immemorial. The mucilaginous aspect of the seeds meant they could be used to remove objects from someone’s eye. The object would stick to the seed and be easily removable. The main reason why one should cultivate Salvia sclarea, however, is to extract the essential oil that it contains. Once distilled, the oil is used to make perfumes. Makers of wines, liqueurs and vermouths also use the oil as a muscatel flavouring for their products. The leaves are not only edible but also a useful ingredient in many cuisines. The leaves can be chopped and generously added to salads. They can also provide flavour and a rich sage aroma when added to many types of dishes, e.g. fritters. Salvia sclarea is also useful in aromatherapy.
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