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Mystery plant that isn't chia

Posted by ladyslppr z6 PA (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 14, 09 at 14:25

This spring at a garage sale I bought an old bag of chia seed, originally sold as health food. The bag seemed several years old, at least, but I planted the seed in a sunny garden here in central PA, and it sprouted very well. I expected it to be Salvia columbaria, which is rather short and has mainly basal leaves, I think. What grew were vigorous plants that may very well have been salvia of a different species. The tallest plants were up to more than 7 feet tall and were starting to produce flower spikes until they were apparently all frosted to death last night. The plants had medium sized leaves, square stems, and certainly seemed salvie-like, but not quite right for any salvia I have grown (I have grown quite a few). Has anyone grown chia seed sold as food, and what did you get? Anyone care to guess what I have been growing? The good part of guessing is that I'll never be able to prove you wrong!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Mystery plant that isn't chia

Could be Salvia hispanica?

RE: Mystery plant that isn't chia

Robin is right Salvia hispanica is the most common Chia
sold on the market. It is sold as a "Aztec Superfood"
it is being produced in South America which is the second
largest exporter of Chia Seed. I take it and use it in
fruit juices. The same can be said in Southern Mexico.
There is also Chia flour which is being used in glutten free breads. And the first use of it was the "Chia Pet".
I have some growing here at my home they have got 4' Tall
but have not flowered yet. I understand if you harvest the plant early you can use the leaves in salads. You get a more easily digested omega 3 than in fax seed. Now you know way more than you ever wanted to about Chia.

RE: Mystery plant that isn't chia

I think it is, or was, Salvia hispanica. Unfortunately it is frozen now, since we have had temperatures in the upper 20s (-3 or -4 C). My assessment is that I can't grow chia seed in Pennsylvania. I can grow plants, but the plants set flowers too late in the fall.

Thanks for the ID help.

RE: Mystery plant that isn't chia

Apparently chia seed can also be Salvia tiliifolia, used by the Tarahumara.

RE: Mystery plant that isn't chia

Be thankful that Salvia tiliaefolia does not set seed in Pennsylvania, because it could easily become a noxious weed. It tried to volunteer in North Carolina on my old property.

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