Salvia columbariae – Chia
Scientific Name: Salvia columbariae
Common Name: Chia
Growth Habit: Herb/Forb
Arizona Native Status: Native
Flower Color: Violet, White (rare)
Flowering Season: Spring
Height: To 20 inches (51 cm) tall
Description: The flowers are in spiky bracted, purple-tinged, globular clusters that are often stacked on top of each other along the upright flower stalks. The individual flowers are small, tubular, and 2-lipped with lobed upper and lower lips. The leaves have deeply recessed veins and are dark green, oblong, pinnately divided, crinkled, and mainly basal. The stems are square in cross section.
Culturally Significant Plant – Native Americans have long cultivated these plants and used the seeds for food, beverages, and for medicinal purposes.
Edible – The seeds are edible and form a thick mucilage in water, making an unusual but healthful drink. The seeds are currently being studied for their role in treating diabetes.
Fragrant – The leaves smell minty when crushed.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Lamiaceae – Mint family
Genus: Salvia L. – sage
Species: Salvia columbariae Benth. – chia
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