Lanceleaf salvia

Salvia reflexa

Lamiaceae (Mint family)


Lanceleaf salvia, also called Rocky Mountain sage, grows to about 2 feet tall, attaining a multistemmed, bushy stature. The square stems branch opposite each other at an upward angle. The narrow, lance-shaped leaves up to 2 inches long are also arranged opposite each other on short stems. Asymmetrical, blue flowers grow on spikes in whorls of two or three.


These plants are found in the western two-thirds of Texas. They grow in dry fields, gravel-clay flats, slopes and rocky soils where there is little competition.

Toxic Agent

The toxic agent is unknown. Reported cases of poisonings in the United States are limited to cattle and horses that consumed contaminated hay. Experimental feeding trials have shown that sheep are also susceptible.

Although the plant has been proven toxic, it is not known how much of the plant material must be eaten to cause toxicity. In one confirmed case, alfalfa hay contained about 10 percent lanceleaf salvia.

Signs of Livestock Ingestion

Salvia poisoning is not common, and only general clinical signs are reported: Muscular weakness; Diarrhea; Colic.

Animals that die after consuming contaminated hay show postmortem evidence of gastrointestinal inflammation and liver necrosis.

Management Strategies

There are no documented reports of this plant causing poisoning under range or pasture conditions, although it has been suspected. Nevertheless, it has been proven toxic when consumed as a contaminant in hay and should therefore be considered potentially toxic to grazing animals. Look for this plant in hay as well as in hay fields before mowing.