Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Senior Horticultural Interpreter.
The tuberous Jerusalem sage (Phlomis tuberosa) is a handsome plant with distinctive tiers of lavender flowers arranged in evenly-spaced whorls on tall, dark-red stems.
It can be seen now in full bloom in the Wild Garden, close against the pergola of the adjacent Aquatic Garden.
There are several species of Jerusalem sage and, although related to the true sages (Salvia), they are placed in their own separate genus (Phlomis). Most of them, including the tuberous Jerusalem sage, come from the dry climates of southern Europe and Asia but will make reliable garden plants here in the Northeast, providing they are planted in well-drained soil.
Unsurprisingly, the specific epithet, tuberosa, indicates the tuberous nature of the root system.