Biennial growing to 1m (3ft). Large, hairy, wrinkled leaves and whorls of pale mauve flowers from mid-summer. Prefers a sunny position and dry soil. Widely used for medicinal purposes, mainly as an essential oil. Many parts of the clary sage plant can be used, including the leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds – gathered in summer, usually in its second year. Once a common treatment of eye conditions, the seeds were soaked until soft and used to cleanse and clear the eyes.