Friday, April 23, 2010


Chia (Salvia columbariae),
a member of the mint family,
grows in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Sonora and Baja, California. The above photos were taken on the bajada just north of the I-10 freeway near the Cottonwood entrance of Joshua Tree National Park on April 3rd. Other photos were taken two weeks later, on April 17th, further east, off the Hayfield Road exit, on the bajada right before the Eagle Mountains.
It can grow to 20 inches tall
and has one or two dark purple spiky balls (flower clusters)
on a square stem.
Tiny two-lipped flowers
are pale blue to blue and purple tipped.
The lower lip is about twice the size of the upper lip.
The foliage rosette is gray-green, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter and the leaves are quilted and deeply lobed.
It has edible seeds that were used by Indians in bread and for medicine.
Below, a mixture of living chia and last year's dead chia.
A close-up of some dead and dried out chia.


  1. Doesn't look much like the Chia PETS I see in the store. Where do you think they got that name?

  2. Chia is a fantastic health food. I sometimes purchase "green" protein bars that have Chia as one of the main ingredients.