Discovering the Desert / Gaining Understanding

Chia (Salvia columbariae)

Chia (Salvia columbariae)

Plantae, Anthophyta, Dicotyledoneae, Lamiales, Lamiaceae

Cahuilla: Pasal

A member of the mint family, chia grows in dry open plains and chaparral below 6,000 feet. Native to California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora and Baja California, chia seeds are high in nutritional value.

Indigenous travelers are known to have consumed them to sustain their energy on long journeys. Chia is one of several plants first collected by California’s desert Native American communities that are now considered “super foods.”

This specimen was collected by James Cole, the park's first superintendent, on March 28, 1941.

H 29, W 19.2 cm
Joshua Tree National Park, JOTR 1195