Purple Snack

Ground Squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi) in Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla)

Sage isn’t just an herb to sprinkle in your salad. It can be the salad, or even the main course, if you’re a Ground Squirrel. This bush of Purple Sage in the Native Plant Area has grown so dense that the little mammal can rest and crawl on top of it without any danger of falling. It also provides cover for sparrows and finches.

Purple sage is well known as a magnet for a number of butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, and birds, including hummingbirds. Our local Ground Squirrels should be added to that list.

This native plant has a long history of traditional food and medical applications, and is said by some sources to be a mild hallucinogenic when smoked. It grows abundantly in the Native Plant Area. Its native vigor has received assistance from Conservancy volunteers, who have cleared thick festoons of invasive kikuyu grass around its base and from its lower branches in a series of Saturday morning stewardship outings during the past two years.

Ground Squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi) in Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla)

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