What is Mediterranean Sage?

Mediterranean sage (Salvia aethiopis) is a coarse biennial that is an erect or a short-lived perennial with a stout taproot.  First year rosettes are blue-green and are covered with woolly white hairs.  Second year plants produce more leaves with a flowering stem.  Leaves have a pungent odor when crushed.  The flowers are white to yellowish-white and appear in clusters.  The flower stems can grow 2 to 3 feet tall and branch 2 to 3 feet wide resembling a candalabra.  The stem breaks off in the fall and forms a tumbleweed dispersing thousands of seeds.  Mature plants can produce 100,000 seeds each.  

Where is it found?

The largest infestation in the State of Colorado is found in Boulder County along Highway 36 from Boulder to Lyons and east to Longmont and the Diagonal Highway.  There are approximately 1,000 acres infested in Boulder County.  There is also a small infestation found in Larimer County. 

Why is it a problem?

Mediterranean sage is native to the Mediterranean Region and northern Africa.  Here in Boulder County, the invasive ornamental plant prefers south-facing slopes in loose, gravelly, well drained soils. It initially invades disturbed sites, but quickly spreads to non-disturbed and natural sites.  It adapts to a wide variety of environmental conditions and quickly displaces native vegetation.  The plant is unpalatable to most grazing animals.  The seed viability is unknown so a site must be monitored for at least 10 years after the last flowering adult plants have been eliminated and treatments repeated when necessary.

How is it effectively controlled?

Effective control of Mediterranean Sage is preventing the establishment of plant communities through maintaining healthy pastures and rangeland.  You must continually monitor your property for new infestations, especially near known infestations.  The tumbleweed mobility of this plant can spread seeds far and wide.  Mediterranean Sage reproduces solely by seed so depleting the seed bank will control future communities.


Hand digging is one of the recommended ways to control infestations.  Make certain to sever at least 2 to 3 inches of the taproot with the shovel.  Shake excess soil from the plant and turn upside down to dry out.  If the plant is blooming it is best to bag the plant in a black bag to bake the plant and kill any seed that may have formed.


Herbicides are a good choice for larger infestations.  Please see the State Department of Weeds brochure on Mediterranean Sage for those recommendations.   

Incentive funds provided through the Boulder Valley and Longmont Conservation Districts

Through grant funds we are able to provide reimbursement of 60% of the cost of recommended herbicides or the cost of contract spray up to $1,000 per individual or property per year.  The incentives are limited to availability of funds.  Please contact the Conservation District Office for further information.

Med Sage in full bloom.

Mediterranean Sage is a List A noxious weed in the State of Colorado Noxious Weed Act.  It is required to be eradicated wherever found and must not be allowed to set seed. 

 Financial incentive to eradicate this noxious weed is provided through a grant to the Boulder Valley & Longmont Conservation Districts.  Funds are distributed on a first- come first-served basis.

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