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Wild Clary

Salvia verbenaca

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Beaches, gardens, grassland, meadows, roadsides, sand dunes, seaside.

Purple, 2 petals
A showy flower with terminal spikes of pale purple flowers, sometimes tinged blue. Individual flowers are 1.5cm in diameter. The flowers appear in whorls of 5 or 6. The sepals are white-haired. Wild Clary is sometimes mistaken for the rarer Meadow Clary (Salvia pratensis). It is also similar to Whorled Clary (Salvia verticillata) but the flowers are a deeper blue.
A fruit capsule. The fruit appears in July and August.
Dull greyish-green, broad basal leaves. Bluntly toothed and wrinkled. Stems are square in cross-section. The distinguishing feature of Wild Clary which separates it from Whorled Clary and Meadow Clary are the stem leaves. Wild Clary has rounded, irregularly toothed leaves. The leaves also appear in opposite pairs. They are between 3 and 10cm long. Perennial.
Pleasantly aromatic but less strong than Sage (which is related to this species).
Other Names:
Christ's Eye, Eye-seed Vervain, Small-flowered Wild Sage, Verbena Sage, Vervain, Vervain Sage, Wild Sage.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Salvia verbenaca, also known as wild clary or vervain sage, is a perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae. It is native to Europe and is found in grassland and meadow habitats. The plant has violet or blue flowers that bloom from mid-summer to early autumn. It grows to be about 90 cm (3 feet) tall and prefers well-drained, moist soil. It is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens, and it is also used medicinally for its astringent and expectorant properties. The essential oil of Salvia verbenaca is used in aromatherapy and perfumery.


Wild Clary, also known as Salvia verbenaca, is a beautiful and versatile herb that is native to Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. It is an annual plant that grows to a height of about 60 cm and has delicate, blue-violet flowers that bloom in the summer.

The plant is often used in traditional medicine due to its various health benefits. Wild Clary is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it useful in treating various skin conditions, respiratory issues, and digestive problems. Additionally, the plant is rich in antioxidants, making it useful in fighting free radicals and promoting overall health.

Wild Clary is also a popular ingredient in the production of perfumes, cosmetics, and soap. Its delicate aroma is believed to have a calming and relaxing effect on the mind and body, making it a popular ingredient in aromatherapy and massage oils.

In addition to its health benefits and use in perfumes, Wild Clary is also known for its culinary uses. Its leaves and flowers are often used as a flavorful herb in cooking, particularly in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. The plant's leaves have a mild, slightly bitter taste that can add a unique flavor to dishes such as soups, stews, and salads.

Growing Wild Clary is relatively easy and can be done in a variety of conditions, including gardens, meadows, and fields. The plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It can be propagated by seed, cuttings, or division, making it a great option for gardeners looking to expand their herb collection.

Wild Clary is a versatile and beautiful herb that is not only attractive to look at but also provides a range of health benefits and has a range of practical uses. Whether you're looking to add a new herb to your garden or seeking a natural remedy for a health issue, Wild Clary is definitely worth considering.

In addition to its health and culinary benefits, Wild Clary has a long history of use in folklore and traditional cultures. In medieval times, the plant was believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits and protect against disease. It was often hung in doorways, windows, and stables to protect against illness and bad luck.

In some cultures, Wild Clary was also believed to have the power to promote fertility and enhance the beauty of women. The plant was often used in cosmetics and beauty treatments, and its flowers were woven into garlands and worn as adornments.

In modern times, Wild Clary is still used for a variety of purposes, from perfumes and cosmetics to health remedies and cooking ingredients. Its delicate aroma and unique flavor make it a popular ingredient in a wide range of products, from soaps and shampoos to teas and tinctures.

If you're looking to incorporate Wild Clary into your life, there are many ways to do so. You can start by growing the plant in your garden, or you can purchase Wild Clary products such as essential oils, soaps, and teas. You can also add the plant's leaves and flowers to your cooking, either fresh or dried, to add a unique flavor to your dishes.

Wild Clary is a plant with a long history of use, both for its practical and its cultural and spiritual benefits. Whether you're seeking a natural remedy for health issues, a flavorful herb for cooking, or just a beautiful addition to your garden, Wild Clary is definitely worth considering.

Wild Clary has also been studied for its potential use in environmental conservation and sustainability efforts. The plant is known to be a hardy species that can grow in a range of environments, including disturbed and degraded lands.

Studies have shown that Wild Clary can help to prevent soil erosion, improve soil fertility, and promote biodiversity in degraded areas. In addition, the plant is known to be a good source of nectar for pollinators, making it an important species for maintaining the health of ecosystems and supporting wildlife populations.

Another important aspect of Wild Clary is its potential use in phytoremediation, the process of using plants to remove or contain pollutants from contaminated soils and waters. Studies have shown that Wild Clary has the ability to remove heavy metals from contaminated soils, making it a potentially valuable tool for cleaning up polluted sites.

In addition to its environmental benefits, Wild Clary is also a valuable source of fiber and oil. The plant's fibers have been used for centuries in the production of textiles, while its seeds are a rich source of oil that can be used for a range of industrial and culinary purposes.

In conclusion, Wild Clary is a versatile and hardy plant with a range of uses and benefits, from health and beauty to environmental conservation and sustainability. Whether you're looking to add a new herb to your garden, support wildlife populations, or clean up contaminated sites, Wild Clary is a species worth considering.


Wild Clary filmed at Orford Castle, Suffolk on the 26th June 2022.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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