There are about 100 species of low growing, sage like herbaceous perennials and evergreen shrubs or sub shrubs in the Lamiaceae family, in this genus. They occur in rocky sites in Europe, Northern Africa, Mediterranean and Asia. It produces opposite, smooth edged, lance shaped to ovate, light to gray green, often with stairs shaped hairs. They are grown for their foliage and showy, tubular, deadnettle like, often hooded, 4 stamen, white, yellow, or lilac flowers, held in dense, axillary whorls of 2 to 40 blooms on tall, erect stems, they are effective massed in a border. Where marginally hardy, grow against a wall. P. lanata is suitable for a rock garden. In winter, seed heads of herbaceous species may be left for their ornamental effect.
Grow in any fertile, well drained soil in full sun. They are drought tolerant and best in an open position where foliage can dry out after rain. Divide perennials in spring.
Prone to leafhoppers.
P. bovei subsp. maroccana – P. samia subsp, maroccana – This erect, sticky hairy perennial from the Mountains of Morocco grows 5′ feet tall and 3′ feet wide. It produces elliptic to oblong, scalloped, gray green basal leaves, to 3″ long, heart shaped at the base, and smaller stem leaves. In summer it bears purple-pink flowers, to 1 3/4″ long, with purple spots inside, white woolly outside.
P. cashmeriana – This erect, densely woolly perennial from India and the Western Himalayas grows 36″ tall and 24″ wide. It produces ovate to lance shaped, basal leaves, 4-10″ long, yellow-gray above, paler beneath, and smaller stem leaves. In mid summer it bears hooded, lilac-purple flowers, to 1″ long, from the upper leaf axils.
P. chrysophylla – Goldleaf Jerusalem Sage – This rounded, evergreen shrub from Lebanon grows 3′ feet tall and 4′ feet wide. From thick spreading branches it carries elliptic, gray green leaves covered with a fine golden down when young that fades to yellow gray, to 2 ½” long. In early summer it bears bright golden yellow flowers 1 1/4″ long, held in whorls.
P. ‘Edward Bowles’ - This upright, evergreen subshrub grows 3′ feet tall and 5′ feet wide. It produces large, heart shaped, wrinkled, gray-green leaves, 6″ long, woolly beneath. In early and mid summer it bears sulfur yellow flowers, 1 1/4″ long, paler on the hoods.
P. fruticosa – Jerusalem Sage – This mound forming, evergreen shrub from the Mediterranean grow 3′ feet tall and 5′ feet wide. From upright shoots it carries sage like, oval shaped, wrinkled, gray green leaves, to 4″ long, woolly beneath. In early summer to mid summer it bears dark golden yellow flowers, 1 1/4″ long. It tends to straggly, so should be pruned to about half its size in autumn. Tolerates coastal areas quite well.
P. italica – This upright, evergreen shrub from the Balearic Islands grows 12″ tall and 24″ wide. It produces lance shaped, gray woolly sometime shallowly toothed leaves, to 2″ long. In mid summer it bears lilac pink flowers, 1″ long held in widely spaced 6 flowered whorls.
P. lanata – This compact, mound forming, evergreen shrub from Greece grows 20″ tall and 30″ wide. It produces oblong to rounded, deeply veined, scaly, sage green leaves, to 1″ long. In summer it bears golden yellow flowers, 3/4″ long, covered in brown hairs.
P. longifolia – This spreading, evergreen shrub from Southwestern Asia grows 4′ feet tall and 6′ feet wide. From white woolly young shoots it carries lance shaped, deeply veined, bright green leaves, to 3″ long, gray woolly beneath. In summer it bears dark yellow flowers, to 1 ½” long, with calyx teeth to 1/8″ long.
Var. bailanica – has ovate leaves and flowers with longer calyx teeth, to 1/4″ long.
P. purpurea – This upright, evergreen shrub from Spain and Portugal grows 24″ tall and wide. From woolly shoots it carries lance shaped, leathery, gray green leaves, to 4″ long, with star shaped hairs above, woolly beneath. In summer it bears purple to pink, occasionally white flowers, 1″ long.
P. russeliana – P. samia of gardens – P. viscosa of gardens – Stick Jersualem Sage – This erect, hairy perennial from Turkey and Syria grows 12-36″ tall and 24-30″ wide. It produces mid green: basal leaves are ovate, 2 ½-8″ long and heart shaped at the bases, stem leaves are smaller and scalloped. From early summer to early autumn it bears hooded, butter yellow flowers, to 1 ½” long. Tolerates some shade.
P. samia – Greek Jerusalem Sage – This erect, perennial from Northern Africa, Southeastern Europe and Turkey grows 36″ tall and 32″ wide. It produces ovate, scalloped, woolly basal leaves, 3-10″ long, heart shaped at the bases, and mid green above, gray beneath, stem leaves are smaller. From early to late summer it bears hooded, pink to pale purple flowers, to 1 ½” long, tinged rose pink, especially on the lips held in clusters of up to 20 blooms.
P. tuberosa – This erect, tuberous, perennial found from Central and Southeastern Europe to Central Asia and grows 5′ feet tall and 3-4′ feet wide. It produces elongated heart shaped, softly hairy, mid green leaves, with toothed edges, to 10″ long. In summer it bears small purple to pink flowers, to 1″ long, held in whorls of up to 40.
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