Desert Sage California Chia

Salvia carnosa (a) Mint family

Arizona desert. Blooms sky blue. Spring.

Calvia columbariae (b)

California desert. Blooms blue. March-April.

Salvia arizonica

Texas desert. Blooms indigo blue. July-September. Size: Herbs and shrubs up to 3 feet high.

The word "sage" is derived from the idea that these plants had the power to make a person wise or sage. Please do not confuse the desert sage with sagebrush (Artemisia) which does not grow in low-elevation deserts but which, due to popular writing and "western" movies, is associated in the public mind with any brushy plant found in the west.

Seeds of the California chia once formed an important item In the diet of desert Indians and were used to remove particles of foreign material from their eyes. The seeds are still used by Mexican natives as food for making mucillginous poultices. The flowers of several species are very ornamental and the plants are quite common, usually In sandy soil.


Delphinium parishii (b)

California desert. Blooms sky blue. Spring.

Delphinium carolinianum

Texas desert. Blooms blue. Spring. Size: Up to 2 feet in height.

Desert larkspurs are low-growing, spring or early summer flowering In habit, often occuring in colonies, and frequently Intermingle with other spring flowers thereby adding their blue to the colorful tapestry of ground cover. They are readily recognized because of their resemblance to the cultivated varieties called delphiniums, and because of the tubular extension or "spur." Delphinium parishii subspecies parishii is the most drought-resistant of all southwestern species and may blossom in the desert as early as February.

Because they contain delphinine and other toxic alkaloids, larkspurs are poisonous to livestock, particularly sheep. On the desert, the plants are small and bear few but beautiful blossoms. They prefer open, gravelly soil.

It is reported that the Hopi Indians grind larkspur blossoms with corn to produce blue meal.

Thistle, Cirsium neomexicanum i u B S

Thistle, Cirsium neomexicanum

Penstemon, Penstemon pseudospectabilis

Aster, Machaeranthera tephrodes

Penstemon, Penstemon pseudospectabilis

Purplemat, Nama demissum

Wild Morningglory, Evolvulus arizonicus

Purplemat, Nama demissum

Lupine, Lupinus havardii


Scorpionweed, Wild-Heliotrope

Phacelia crenulata (a) Waterleaf family

Arizona desert. Blooms violet-purple. February-June.

Phacelia crenulata (a) Waterleaf family

Arizona desert. Blooms violet-purple. February-June.

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