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Chia, California Sage

Salvia columbariae

Details & Attributes


Plant Type(s) Annual
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low
Sun Full sun
Pollinators Bees, butterflies
Has Spines No
Size
In relative feet, width by height
6"-1'-4-8"
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season March-July
Flower Color Purple
Minimum Temperature Range 20-25 °F
Leaf Description Mostly at base of plant, lobed and rough to the touch with a slight sagey fragrance.
Fruit Small brown-black seeds in a spiky whorl of capsules
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Ethnobotany Poultice of seeds was used for infections, to cleanser eyes, for fevers, for irritation and inflammation; the seeds are edible, and can be used to make a beverage, to render water palatable by removing alkalines; also used for pinole and mush to eat.
Description Chia is another low desert annual commonly found in western Arizona, and more or less reaching its eastern extent in the area around Tucson. From patches of rough basal leaves, chia sends up tall square-stemmed flower stalks topped with whorls of purple blooms which give way to spiky seedheads. The flowers attract native bees, and the seeds are a nutritious food source; the chia found in stores Is a related species (Salvia hispanica). This plant reliably germinates from seed broadcast into gardens if moisture is provided, and it can be counted on to reseed.