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What's a Chia Pet?

Melissa Dunlap is a writer, editor and blogger specializing in lifestyle communications. Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. When she's not having dance parties w...

A holiday staple in forms ranging from President Obama to Shaggy and Scooby Doo, the Chia Pet is the not-so-gag gift that keeps giving all year-round. What are those miracle seeds that develop into a lush head of hair on that terra cotta statue? Who came up with the idea and why is it called Chia? If you're curious about Chia Pets, read on to learn more than you ever wanted to know.


A holiday staple in forms ranging from President Obama to Shaggy and Scooby Doo, the Chia Pet is the not-so-gag gift that keeps giving all year-round. What are those miracle seeds that develop into a lush head of hair on that terra cotta statue? Who came up with the idea and why is it called Chia? If you're curious about Chia Pets, read on to learn more than you ever wanted to know.

Chia Pet is a trademark of Joseph Enterprises, Inc. of San Francisco, Calif. the name was first used in 1977, and the "pets' became available to the public in 1982. The figurines, in the shapes of various animals and cartoon characters, have hollow, clay bodies and the outer portion of the clay body has small grooves where moistened chia seeds are applied. The wet chia seeds make a thick, gel-like paste which binds the seeds to the clay surface.

Chia Pets released in the past 30 years include:

  • Chia Ram (1982)

  • Chia Puppy (1983-1992)

  • Chia Herb Garden (1993)

  • Chia Professor (1996)

  • Chia Taz (2000)

  • Chia Scooby Doo (2003)

  • Chia Shrek (2004)

  • Chia Obama (2008)


 

Chia is Salvia hispanica, a flowering herb member of the mint family. Both the seeds and plant are edible. Seeds are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and the sprouts (as grown on Chia Pets) can be used in salads or sandwiches much like alfalfa sprouts. Although they'll never get this tall on your Chia Pet, chia can grow up to 3 feet tall and bloom purple flowers.

Make your own Chia Pet>>>

 
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