Two stamens, forked style - as in Black Sage, Salvia mellifera, with which this species hybridizes.  UCI Arboretum, Irvine, CA. 3-19-11. © Joan Avise

Chia

Salvia columbariae

Widespread throughout southern California to Mexico and common in Orange County on dry slopes.  The tiny, nutritious oil-rich seeds are an important food source for the Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) and were a staple food of local indigenous tribes, some of whom cultivated it as a crop. Dried plants were beaten over a basket to collect the seeds which were then ground into meal and mixed with water to make mush.  Parched crushed seeds steeped in water are said to assuage great thirst.

Lamiaceae

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San Juan Loop Trail, Cleveland National Forest, Riverside Co., CA. 3-29-08. © Joan Avise

4-24_ annual San Juan Loop Trail, Cleveland National Forest, Riverside Co., CA. 3-29-08. © Joan Avise

Wine-colored prickly bracts Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton, CA. 5-02-09. © Joan Avise

Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton, CA.. 5-02-09. © Joan Avise

Spiny toothed sepals Anza Borrego State Park, San Diego Co., CA. 3-13-10. © Joan Avise

Basal rosette of finely dissected wrinkled leaves Anza Borrego State Park, San Diego Co., CA. 3-13-10. © Joan Avise

With California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica, and Tansy phacelia, Phacelia tanacetifolia, Near Lake Elizabeth, Los Angeles County, CA. 4/20/2014. © Peter J. Bryant

With California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica, Near Lake Elizabeth, Los Angeles County, CA. 4/20/2014. © Peter J. Bryant

With California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica, and Tansy phacelia, Phacelia tanacetifolia, Near Lake Elizabeth, Los Angeles County, CA. 4/20/2014. © Peter J. Bryant