Scientific Name: Salvia columbariae

Common Name: Chia

Family: Lamiaceae, Mint family
Duration: Annual
Size: Up to 1 ½ feet or more.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; hairs sparse short and stiff.
Leaves: Green; mostly basal, 1 or 2 pinnately dissected, lobes irregularly rounded, up to 3½ or 4 inches long with small stiff hairs.
Flower Color: Blue or purple-tipped; flowers in 1 or 2 clusters, inflorescence scapose (elongated peduncle); fruit a nutlet.
Flowering Season: March to May.

Comments: Seeds eaten as grain, whole or ground. If soaked in water, seeds will absorb the moisture and transform it into a gelatinous coating, creating a chia gel which was consumed by indigenous people for energy, mixed with other grains and meals for a gruel-like pinole, and has been rediscovered in recent years. This is one of a few species of Salvia used in this way, the best known of which is the Mexican Salvia hispanica.