violet, two-lipped flowers
Salvia pratensis

Meadow clary

Family: Lamiaceae
Other common names: Sàlvia (Catalan), šalvěj luční (Czech), eng-salvie (Danish), veldsalie (Dutch), meadow sage (English), niittysalvia (Finnish), sauge commune (French), sauge des prés (French), wiesensalbei (German), mezei zsálya (Hungarian), salvia dei prati (Italian), pievinis šalavijas (Lithuanian), engsalvie (Norwegian), Шалфей луговой (Russian), salvia de prado (Spanish)
IUCN Red List status: Not Evaluated

The meadow clary’s striking blue flowers and wonderfully aromatic leaves are a flower-arrangers' favourite.

It is now threatened with extinction in the UK as their habitats are disappearing, but our Millennium Seed Bank is helping to save this blue beauty.

The meadow clary has rich green, oval, and often aromatic leaves with slightly wrinkled edges that are arranged in opposite pairs in a basal clump. Their erect stems with soft hairs bear violet-blue and rarely pink or white, two-lipped flowers

Read the scientific profile on meadow clary


Meadow clary is popular in flower arrangement.

Food and drink

It has been used to flavour beers and wines.


The common name 'clary' is derived from 'clear-eye'; meadow clary seeds were used in the past as a paste to remove particles from the eyes and to reduce inflammation.

Meadow clary was also used for sore throats, and to clean teeth.

Map of the world showing where meadow clary is native and introduced to
Native: Albania, Austria, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Central European Russia, Corse, Crimea, Croatia, Czech Republic, East European Russia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Northwest European Russia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South European Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey-in-Europe, Ukraine
Introduced: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Grazed pastures, banks and meadows with chalk or limestone soils.

The meadow clary is a rare plant in the UK; it is only native to a few sites in southern England.

They are threatened by habitat change, often caused by ploughing, fertilising and re-seeding of grasslands, as well as the loss of grazing by livestock, which allows other plants to outcompete the meadow clary.

To save meadow clary, the UK wildlife legislation has ruled it illegal to pick, uproot, destroy or sell them.

Here in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank we also help protect the meadow clary.

21 collections from native populations are stored in our seed bank which provides a resource for conservation, research or education.

Other plants

More from Kew


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The geographical areas mentioned on this page follow the World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions (WGSRPD) developed by Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG).