Salvia hispanica L.

Last updated: 17 August 2015

Scientific Name

Salvia hispanica L.


Kiosmina hispanica (L.) Raf., Salvia chia Colla, Salvia chia Sessé & Moc. [Illegitimate], Salvia hispanica var. chionocalyx Fernald, Salvia hispanica var. intonsa Fernald, Salvia neohispanica Briq. [Illegitimate], Salvia prysmatica Cav., Salvia schiedeana Stapf, Salvia tetragona Moench. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Chia [2], wild sage [3]
Indonesia Cuwing, salasi huma (Sundanese) [2]; tjuwing [3]
France Chia [2]
Mexico Chaa, gueeza chaa, queza chaa, guia belaga, quije pelage (Oxaca); chía, chíacomercial, chía del campo, chía del monte, romerillo, salvia; [3].

Geographical Distributions

Salvia his­panica originates from southern Mexico and northern Guatemala. Its earliest cultivation and utilization is by the Aztecs in Central America. It was introduced and naturalised in the West In­dies, Spain and West Java. It is grown commer­cially in central Mexico, Guatemala, United States (Southern California, South-Eastern Texas), North-Western Argentina and occasionally in West Java, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. [2]

In its natural area, S. hispanica grows in moist or dry thickets, in open, often dry rocky slopes, sometimes on sandbars along streams and often as a weed, at altitudes 1150-2500 m. In West Java, it can be found in open areas, road sides, fal­low or weedy agricultural land and low brushwoods at altitudes of 900-1700 m. In north-western Ar­gentina, it is grown at elevations of 300-1350 m, with maximum temperature of about 30°C and minimum temperature of 12.5°C. Rainfall in this region varies between 100-1000 mm per year. This is a species of the semi-arid areas. [2]

Botanical Description

S. his­panica is comes from the family Labiatae. It is an erect or ascending herb that can grow up to 0.5-1 m tall or more. The stem and branches are quadrangular, villous and hispid. [2]

The leaves are arranged opposite and thin. The petiole is 1-6 cm long and slender. The blade is oblong-lance-shaped to ovate, measuring 3-8 cm x 1-4.5 cm, obtuse and abrupt­ly attenuates at base, with entire margin at the base and serrate or serrulate elsewhere, and acute or acuminate at apex. Both surfaces are pubescent. [2]

The inflorescence consists of verticillasters of 6-10 zygomorphic flowers. These are congested in a dense, terminal false spike measuring 5-25 cm x 1.5 cm. The internodes are 2-5 mm long. The bracts are ovate-acuminate, measure 6-8 mm long and persistent. The sepal is tubular but 2-lipped, slightly inflated below, measures 6-8 mm long, 8-11 mm in fruit and densely hairy. The upper lip is strongly keeled and sharply pointed while the lower lip is 2-toothed. The petal is tubular, 2-lipped, blue or pur­plish-blue. The lips are shortly exposed with tube 4.5-5.5 mm long. The upper lip is 3 mm long and rounded and sericeous outside while the lower lip is 3-lobed. It is 3.5-5 mm long. There are 4 sta­mens which are didynamous, hardly exposed, and with lower pair fertile and lower connective branch swollen. The disk is prominent. The ovary is superior with 2-branched style. The up­per branch is long and slender. It is 2.5 mm long and point­ed while the lower one is short and club-shaped. The main style articulates above the base. [2]

The fruit consists of 4 schizocarpous nutlets where each one is ellipsoid, 1.8 mm long and mottled with black and grey. [2]


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Chemical Constituent

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Plant Part Used

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Traditional Use

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Preclinical Data

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Clinical Data

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Poisonous Management

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Line drawing


Figure 1 : The line drawing of S. hispanica [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Salvia hispanica L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013. [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 Aug 6]. Available from:
  2. Salvia hispanica L. In: van der Vossen HAM, Umali BE, editors. Plant resources of South-East Asia No 14: Vegetables oils and fats. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publication: 2001.
  1. Quattrocchi U. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume V R-Z. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 137-138.