In accordance with Western Carolina University’s policies in response to Covid-19, Highlands Biological Station is currently closed to the public with the exception of the Botanical Garden trails, but does remain open to researchers and faculty on a limited basis; please contact the HBS office (828-526-2602) for information on reservations, rates, and Covid-19 policies.  We currently plan to offer our field courses, workshops, Grant-in-Aid program, and HBS Nature Center programs in summer 2021, with Covid-19 safety protocols in place (TBA).​ Please bear in mind, however, that University policy and HBS program plans are subject to change in light of developments with the pandemic this winter and spring, and those interested in attending HBS courses or programs or utilizing HBS facilities in spring or summer 2021 should check the HBS website regularly for updates.

Salvia lyrata ‘Purple Knockout’

Salvia lyrata ‘Purple Knockout’

Lyre-leaf sage

Lamiaceae Family

This cultivated variety of the standard species, Salvia lyrata, offers a unique departure for the landscape. As the cultivar name would suggest Salvia lyrate ‘Purple Knockout’ has stark deep purple foliage at its basal rosette. However, like the straight species, this cultivar produces soft purple flowers in spring that persist until mid-summer. The tubular flowers of Saliva often are attractive to insects, in particular bees.


The range of the straight species extends from Florida to Maine and stretches into parts of Texas and Nebraska. In its native range, it can be found in open woodland areas and is tolerant of wet soils.