Chia is an annual plant ( a type of plant that germinates, flowers, sets seed, and dies all in one season) that is native to southern California, and as far south as Mexico.  It is highly prized by the many Indigenous people who live in the region. Chia flowers (pashiiy ‘ashuun)  are the source of chia seeds, a vital food source for the Tongva.  The small oily seeds were harvested in the late spring early summer then stored, ground into flour or traded for goods from neighboring tribes, including those on Catalina. A popular use was to stir seeds into a bowl of cold water for a refreshing beverage.  When the Spanish came, they added sugar and lemon to the recipe.

Caring for your Chia (Salvia columbariae)

  • Plant seeds in full sun, 12″ apart
  • Plant seeds in loosened soil OR a medium pot, just barely covering the seed with soil & use fingers to press soil down
  • Water gently; do not flood
  • Seeds should sprout in 3-14 days
  • Plants will grow to be 12″ tall