Black Sage at California Overlook

DSC_0366(angrymark)_scaled_45 DSC_0365One of the finest scenic views in America opens up along California Route 46.  The line of sight leads over green hillsides to the blue
Pacific and the huge shape of Morro Rock.  The eye tends to pass over a culturally important plant growing there — black sage.

 

Black sage grows in the form of dense bushes, which produce a profusion of blossoms that helps sustain a large honeybee population in central California. The honey they produce is considered the finest in the world, with a clear color and mild flavor.

This particular honey varietal bears the trait of a long shelf life due to its non-crystallizing qualities.  This makes it easier for health enthusiasts to sustain their honey consumption.  The fact that black sage tends to bloom in 3-year cycles may be connected with the honey’s longevity.  The bees feed on honey in their hives and need a durable varietal.

 

Black sage blooms freely in April.  Identify the plants at other times of year by the fragrance of the leaves.  The oil that black sage produces in order
to endure the dry California climate produces a sharp aroma that makes the leaves suitable for gourmet chicken dishes, says native plant expert Penny Nyunt of Las Pilitas Nursery in Santa Margarita.

Black sage colonizes a second scenic habitat at McWay Falls, noted tourist site featuring a waterfall dropping onto an ocean beach.  It grows along the popular footpath that hosts so many thousands of snapshots of the falls and the adjacent ocean cove.  McWay Falls is situated along Route 1 south of Monterey, in the segment of coast known as Big Sur.

For a learning experience with black sage, visit Las Pilitas nursery.  The nursery/nature center offers the plant for sale.  It also grows wild on the nursery property, which features acorn woodpeckers in a virgin live oak grove, western bluebirds and occasional visits from a black bear.

 

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