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Salvia 'Santa Barbara' or 'Waverly'?

Posted by denisez10 SoCal (My Page) on
Tue, May 29, 07 at 16:50

I ordered a Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara,'or Dwarf Mexican Bush Sage, from a very good mail order nursery I have long patronized and admired. Judging purely by the leaves since it has not flowerd, nevertheless I knew that I had received Salvia 'Waverly' instead of what I requested. Not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But a couple months later I thought, if I was a nursery owner, I'd want to know, so I advised them of the switch. The response was that since Salvia 'Waverly' has leucantha parentage in it, that they are now selling 'Waverly' when people request Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara.' This was new to me. Anyone have any info/insight on this confusion? In So. Calif. at retail nurseries, Salvia leucantha 'Santa Barbara' is still Dwarf Mexican Bush Sage, and Salvia 'Waverly' is a a whitish-flowered leucantha hybrid but a distinctly different plant.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Salvia 'Santa Barbara' or 'Waverly'?

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, May 30, 07 at 9:57

That nursery is wrong on SO many levels, I can't believe it. First of all, sending out plants different from what is requested is fine if they're temporarily out of the plant, but they still need to let people know. If they're going to continue doing it, they need to take 'S.B' off their list. Ridiculous.

Secondly, 'Waverly' has white flowers, 'Santa Barbara' has violet. 'S.B.' is compact, and 'W.' is very much NOT. And there's not even any positive proof that 'Waverly' is a hybrid of leucantha. I wouldn't be surprised if it was, but....there are just so many things wrong with what that nursery is doing.

You seem like a very calm person, Denise. :) Which is a good thing, because if it was me, that nursery would get an earful. LOL


RE: Salvia 'Santa Barbara' or 'Waverly'?

I totally agree with Brenda. This is not an ethical practice at all.
If I had ordered S. leucantha, I would expect S. leucantha or to be advised that it was not available and would a substitute be okay.
If you can use 'Waverly', then I guess it's not that big a deal, but it doesn't make it right.


RE: Salvia 'Santa Barbara' or 'Waverly'?

Wanda and Brenda, thanks for that input. I don't question this nursery's ethics -- the contact person sincerely believes that the nomenclature has changed and, for them, asking for SB means they ship 'Waverly.' I did find one hit on Google referencing this confusion, quoting salvia expert Rick Dufresne (sp?), which clarified that they are distinct plants, not to be confused. I had no idea there was ANY confusion until this order arrived.

RE: Salvia 'Santa Barbara' or 'Waverly'?

Just to add to the confusion, 'Waverly' was sold in the UK for a while as 'San Marcos Lavender'!!!


RE: Salvia 'Santa Barbara' or 'Waverly'?

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, May 31, 07 at 12:07

"...the contact person sincerely believes that the nomenclature has changed..."

Granted, it may not be a question of ethics, however, it's surely a question of misinformation. I don't see how the nomenclature can change when the plants don't even look alike. I'm thinking the contact person or nursery owners should maybe do a little more homework before making such drastic assumptions.

The link below even explains the confusion of a couple of true experts in the Salvia field. Not sure how accurate it is, but I hope Rich will enlighten us soon. :)


Here is a link that might be useful: San Marcos

RE: Salvia 'Santa Barbara' or 'Waverly'?

Randy Baldwin is correct as far as he has commented on the naming of this variety of Salvia leucantha on the Sam Marcos Growers site. I was using `Santa Barbara' (a name which I thought I got from Mark Bartholemew), and `San Marcos Lavender' (the name I got from Blue Meadow Herb Farm). Brian McGowan did not know what the local California name was, so I called friends in California like Steve Brigham and Mark to get their advice, and listed it under several names in my placard book.

The necessary change occurred when Geoff Needham of PlantHaven called me and expressed a need to reserve the name Santa Barbara for the Salvia leucantha form then undergoing patent registration. Some further research indicated that the name `Waverly' was in solid use in northern California. I went over my records and sent corrections and updated information to as many as I could find of the persons who had gotten old versions of my placard book and included the correction in the next edition.

This is another example of why I feel that keeping good records of origins or provenance is so important.

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