Salvia divinorum is native to the small Oaxaca region of Mexico. It was used for divination and spiritual ceremonies by the native culture. The plant remains widely used as a hallucinogen. Distinct characteristics allow you to distinguish the plant from common garden herbs. While you may identify large or flowering plants by visual inspection, a smaller plant may require additional effort. Recognize a Salvia divinorum plant by taking a close look at its leaves, flowers and stem.
Measure or estimate the height of the plant in question. Salvia divinorum grows to be over 3 feet tall and sprouts a healthy supply of broad, oval leaves. The main stalk of the plant shoots straight up from the ground.
Gather a portion of the plant's stem and gently break it in half. Look at the shape of the stem's cross-section, which should resemble a square rather than a circle. Stems of Salvia divinorum plants are always hollow.
Look at the flowers if the plant is in bloom. Salvia divinorum does not flower often, but it does occasionally produce spears of white and violet flowers. The flower-bearing stems shoot far above the plant's natural foliage.
Feel the leaves of the plant with your fingers. They should be firm and crinkly, much like lettuce leaves. The leaves are several inches wide and up to 5 or 6 inches long. The jagged, oval-shaped leaves grow on alternating sides of the plant's stems.