How to Identify a Salvia Divinorum Plant in the Wild


Salvia divinorum is native to the Sierra Mazateca of Oaxaca, Mexico. Salvia divinorum is of interest as a hallucinogenic plant, containing psychoactive chemical salvinorin. When the leaves are smoked or chewed for prolonged periods, intense hallucinations occur, explaining the plant's moniker as the diviner's sage. Unlike marijuana, Salvia divinorum does not have leaves or buds that characterize it easily from other plants you may find in the wild. Knowing a few of the characteristics may help identify it in the wild.

Step 1

Observe the leaf coordination on the plant. David J. Robson of the University of Illinois says the leaves appear on opposite sides of the stem from each other, which differentiates it from many other salvia species.

Step 2

Look for white blossoms that have medium-purple calyx between the white tubes.

Step 3

Crush the leaves between your hands and smell it. It should have a light, grassy fragrance.

Step 4

Inspect the stem for a square shape.

Step 5

Observe the height. Salvia divinorum grows about 3 feet tall with a leaf spread of 2 feet, which is larger than other salvia plants.

Step 6

Check the leaves for an oval shape, with light green veins along the surface. Some leaves become very large, almost the size of a hand.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife


  • Erowid: Salvia Divinorum Basics
  • University of Illinois: Salvia--Legal or Not
  • Salvia Divinorum Scotland: Ethnopharmacology of Ska Maria Pastora
Keywords: identifying Salvia divinorum, wild Salvia divinorum, Salvia divinorum

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.