On Saturday, July 3, basketweaver/native plant foodie Abe Sanchez and I gathered chia, Salvia columbariae, in an area that burned fall not far from Highway 79 in Riverside County. Chia often grows well after a burn, and there was plenty of it on the precipitous hillsides. To gather a sizeable amount takes a great deal of time and effort.

Abe uses the chia he gathers for his native food tables and demonstrations, but we both purchase the super nutritious, omega-3-rich chia, Salvia hispanica, for our everyday use at health food stores, online, or in a Tijuana herb store.

Here’s a link to the Gathering Chia video we produced several years ago, which documents Abe Sanchez (Purapeche); Marian Walkingstick (Acjachemen); Diania Caudell (Luiseño); Irving Morales (Luiseño); and Maureen Castillo (Cupeño) harvesting the tiny black seeds of the chia plant, a vitally important edible food for southwest native people.

Chia is also a featured plant in our 2010 Ethnobotanical Calendar for June. For July, we feature thistle chia, aka thistle sage, or Salvia carduaceae.

Posted by deborah small

One Comment

  1. looks like a lot of work to harvest, but is it edible? doesn’t sound like either of you eat the harvested chia.

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