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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - March 11, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Information about Cedar Sage from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am new to the Austin area and was wondering about cedar sage (salvia roemeriana). Is this plant considered aromatic, non-aromatic of chia? And, other than the edible flower are other parts of the plants used?

ANSWER:

Follow this plant link Salvia roemeriana (Cedar sage) to our page on this plant to learn about growing season, blooming, etc. It is aromatic, as it belongs to the Lamiaceae, or mint, family. This is also why the plant is considered highly deer-resistant, because deer don't ordinarily approach aromatic plants, unless they are really hungry, which is usually. This USDA Plant Profile map shows Cedar Sage as being native to this part of the state.

We must be a little out of things, because the only time we had heard of "chia" was in reference to the funny little animals that "grew" fur. However, we did a little more searching and found this from drweil.com:

"Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. You may have seen chia sprouts growing on the novelty planters called Chia Pets, but historically, the seeds have been the most important part of the plant. In pre-Columbian times they were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. I've read that one tablespoon was believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours. The Aztecs also used chia medicinally to stimulate saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin."

So, insofar as chia is a member of the Salvia genus, it is related to Cedar Sage. It is, however, native to southern Mexico and therefore not in our Native Plant Database. The seeds are apparently the important thing, considered to be a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. We could find no reference to the seeds of Cedar Sage as being a similar source, but neither did we find anything saying that their seeds were poisonous. So, if you're interested, we guess you could give them a try. We learn something new every day.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cedar sage
Salvia roemeriana

Cedar sage
Salvia roemeriana

Cedar sage
Salvia roemeriana

Cedar sage
Salvia roemeriana

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