Sage – An Overview Of The Origin, Occurrence And Characteristics

Sage is represented worldwide with hundreds of species and varieties. This arouses curiosity for more detailed information about this aromatic globetrotter. Browse through interesting details on origin, occurrence and special characteristics here.

Salbei Herkunft

Where did real sage take its origin?
To determine the origin of sage, we have to go far back in history. Even the ancient Romans and Greeks attributed magical healing powers to the spicy herb plant. In the sun-drenched Mediterranean region sage took its origin and started to a centuries-long triumphal procession around the globe.

Over which countries does the occurrence of sage extend?
Globetrotters will encounter the popular seasoning herb wherever sage finds a dry location in a tropical to temperate climate. Here is an overview of the occurrence of the more than 900 species:

Central and South America: 500 species
Asia and the Mediterranean: 250 species
Peru: 94 species
China: 84 species
Bolivia: 34 species
Pakistan: 16 species
Nicaragua: 13 species
Panama: 10 species
Madagascar: 6 species
Regardless of the botanical-systematic distinction, sage species are very similar in appearance. Remarkable differences exist rather in the composition of their constituents. While the essential oils dominate in the true sage, other species convince with components for alternative processing. Muscat sage, for example, is often used in perfume production due to its special amber aroma.

Outstanding features
To identify true sage by its external appearance, the following characteristics are important:

Sage thrives as an evergreen semi-shrub.
The height of growth ranges from 50 to 90 centimeters
The stems, woody in the lower part, are slightly square
The lanceolate to ovate leaves have a length of 5-9 centimeters
Silvery velvety hairs cover the young foliage
Older sage leaves become barren
White, pink or purple lipped flowers bloom from May to July


Following flowering, small brown cloistered fruits develop, containing black seeds. Before winter, the plant retracts its above-ground stems and leaves to overwinter in the ground.

Tips & Tricks
For sage to develop its wonderful flavor to perfection, the leaves should be soaked in water before preparation. In addition, chefs recommend simmering sage for some time with the other ingredients on low heat.

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