Chia, also known as Chia Sage, Golden Chia, or Desert Chia
Family: Lamiaceae, Mint
Chia is a valuable component of many ecosystems, providing food and habitat for a variety of wildlife species. The plant is known for its edible seeds, which were an important food source for many Native American tribes. The seeds can be eaten raw or ground into flour and used to make a type of porridge or cake. Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein, making them a popular superfood today. The plant has been used in traditional Native American medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including sore throats, colds, and fever.
Chia is a native of California, south Nevada and southwest Arizona, and small adjoining areas of Utah and New Mexico. It grows in gravelly locations, roadsides, desert plains, and washes.
I have observed this wildflower in 2023 in the following Southern California desert areas:
Whitewater Preserve (March 2023)
Joshua Tree National Park, Cottonwood area (March 2023)
Big Morongo Canyon Preserve (March 2023)
Art Smith Trail, Palm Desert, CA (March 2023)
Mission Creek Preserve (March 2023)