Ocimum labiatum, the Pink Sage, is an attractive plant that produces masses of pink or mauve flowers from early summer till late autumn.
- Ocimum is the ancient Greek name for Basil, which is a member of this genus.
- labiatum is Latin and means lipped, referring to the two prominent lips on the flowers.
- Sprays of fine pink to mauve flowers.
- Evergreen to partly deciduous.
- Light green, heart-shaped leaves.
- Leaf margins are softly serrated, making the leaves look like small mulberry tree leaves.
- The leaves and stems are sparsely hairy.
The pink to mauve flowers of Ocimum labiatum, the Pink Sage, are borne on slender spikes that are up to 18 cm long, with clusters of 6 to 8 flowers that are between 1 and 2 cm apart.
- Seeds are contained within a capsule within the calyx.
- Stems are sparsely hairy.
- Ocimum labiatum is a wonderful garden plant because it flowers profusely for long periods each summer.
- It may be planted individually but looks best when planted in groups of three or more plants.
- A good choice for an informal border or mass planted as a ‘taller’ groundcover.
- It is equally at home in full sun or semi-shade.
- Once established it is surprisingly frost hardy and water-wise.
- Plant in well composted soil.
- A wildlife friendly shrub, attracting insects and birds.
- A quick growing shrub, flowering within the first year of been planted out.
- A low maintenance plant.
- Feed regularly with compost mulches, organic 3:2:3 and bonemeal.
- Protect young plants against the cold in winter.
- Cut back to knee height in spring after the threat of frost is past.
- Drought hardy, but thrives on regular summer water.
- Insect-eating birds are attracted to the insects that visit the flowers.
- Flowers are visited by bees, carpenter bees and adult butterflies.
- Two labdane diterpenoids compounds isolated from this plant in 2007 show promise in combating tuberculosis and breast cancer in humans.
This picture is included just because the flowers of Ocimum labiatum, Pink Sage, are so pretty!
- This plant was being researched at the Tshwane University of Technology as a potential commercial source of essential oils.
- It also has potential to be used to absorb heavy metals from old goldmine dumps, and so rehabilitate them.
- Occurs naturally from southern KZN, Swa, M, L, NWP northern G and also in Zim.
- Endemic to southern Africa.
- It may be found on rocky outcrops in dry, wooded hillsides.
© Malcolm Dee Hepplewhite & Witkoppen Wildflower Nursery, (Text and Photographs) 2012 & 2018.