White sage is one of the native plants in the chaparral sage scrub plant community you can find here at Debs Park. It's drought tolerant like all of our native plants and has a funky smell that some people love and some people highly dislike. If you rub the leaves, you'll find they're a little sticky. That's because like most salvia spp., this plant produces it’s only natural sunscreen for this harsh sunny California climate. White sage is also a huge hummingbird plant - you'll often find a bunch of hummingbirds floating around it.
You've probably encountered white sage before, in the form of a sage smudges- many like to burn sage as is it thought to "purify" or "cleanse" spaces. This practice takes root in indigenous communities around the world, many of whom consider sage a sacred plant used to ceremonially cleanse or purify spaces or people. Unfortunately, the practice of "sage smudging" has led to overharvesting and the white sage population has declined in recent years.
We invite you to come check out our white sage population throughout our Center. While you're here, make sure read about some of ways our local indigenous communities use white sage in our Children's Woodland!