Purple sage

Purple sage

Purple sage can refer to various plants. The phrase was made famous by Zane Grey's novel "Riders of the Purple Sage", set in Utah (and references to it, such as the band New Riders of the Purple Sage). There is disagreement on what plant Grey referred to.

Plants called purple sage include:

*Certain true sages, members of the genus "Salvia":
**"Salvia dorrii", also called Ute tobacco sage, Dorr's sage, etc., which has showy purple flowers. It is a mild hallucinogen when smoked, and is used in Native American ceremonies and Native American herbal medicine. It is native to the western United States, including Utah, and has been identified as the plant Grey had in mind. [cite web | last = Howard | first = Lynna | title = What is Great Rift? | year = 2000–2007 | url = http://myweb.cableone.net/prueheart/greatriftwhat.htm | accessdate = 2008-08-11]
**"Salvia leucophylla", also called San Luis sage, likewise producing showy purple flowers, native to California and Baja California and used in xeriscaping in southern California.
**"Salvia pachyphylla", called giant-flowered purple sage, blue sage, etc., a shrub native to California and bordering areas, used in xeriscaping in colder regions.
**"Salvia officinalis" "Purpurascens", the purplish-leaved variety (or group of varieties) of the common sage.
*"Leucophyllum frutescens", also called Texas sage, barometer bush, etc., a purple-flowered shrub of Texas (where it is the official state native shrub) and Mexico. Though it has been considered "the purple sage of cowboy song fame," [cite web | title = Leucophyllum frutescens - Greenbeampro | date = 26 January 1998 | publisher = Branch-Smith Publishing | url = http://www.greenbeampro.com/content/view/1411/205/ | accessdate = 2008-08-11] it is not the plant of Grey's novel, as it is known in the U.S. only from Texas [cite web | title = PLANTS Profile for Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) | work = USDA PLANTS Database | year = 2008 | publisher = USDA. NRCS | url = http://plants.usda.gov/java/nameSearch?keywordquery=Leucophyllum+frutescens&mode=sciname&submit.x=0&submit.y=0. | accessdate = 2008-08-11] .
*"Psorothamnus scoparius", fomerly "Dalea scoparia" and more often called broom dalea, a purple-flowered, nearly leafless shrub found in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico.
*Sagebrushes ("Artemisia"), loosely called sage, are dominant plants in parts of Utah. They have been identified, tentatively [cite book | author=Elmore, Francis H. | title=Trees and Shrubs of the Southwest Uplands | publisher=Western National Parks Association | year=1976 | pages = 71 | isbn = 0-911408-41-X Elmore specifically mentions "Artemisia tridentata" as a possibility for Grey's plant.] and definitely [cite book | last = Glattstein | first = Judy | year = 2003 | title = Consider the Leaf: Foliage in Garden Design | publisher = Timber Press | pages = 111 | isbn = 0-88192-571-3 | url = http://books.google.com/books?id=PXCnGfcz0XcC&pg=RA2-PA111&lpg=RA2-PA111&dq=Zane+Grey+%22purple+sage%22+sagebrush&source=web&ots=OtoN0A8_m5&sig=68XbMskZImy5jSO7PYJeLNT3xTQ&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result | accessdate = 2008-08-11] , as the plant Grey had in mind. The purple color would be that of aerial perspective:::The sage about him was breast-high to his horse, oversweet with its warm, fragrant breath, gray where it waved to the light, darker where the wind left it still, and beyond the wonderful haze-purple lent by distance. [cite book | last = Grey | first = Zane | year = 1912 | title = Riders of the Purple Sage | pages = 42 | publisher = Grosset & Dunlap | url = http://books.google.com/books?id=RxQ1AAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Riders+of+the+Purple+Sage&ei=n8ifSLeqNI6UiAHU7PD7BA#PPA42,M1 | accessdate = 2008-08-11]


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