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Mihai Costea, family description, key to genera, revised by Thomas J. Rosatti & Elizabeth H. Zacharias

Annual to shrub; hairs simple, stellate, or glandular; plants in several genera scaly, mealy, or powdery from collapsed glands; monoecious, dioecious, with bisexual flowers, or with both bisexual and unisexual flowers. Stem: occasionally fleshy. Leaf: blade simple, generally alternate, occasionally fleshy or reduced to scales, veins pinnate; stipules 0. Inflorescence: raceme, spike, catkin-like, spheric head, axillary clusters of flowers, or flowers 1; bracts 0–5, herbaceous, generally persistent or strongly modified in fruit, wings, tubercles or spines present or 0. Flower: bisexual or unisexual, small, generally green; calyx parts (1)3–5, or 0 in pistillate flowers, free or fused basally (or ± throughout), leaf-like in texture, membranous, or fleshy, deciduous or not, often strongly modified in fruit; corolla 0; stamens 1–5, opposite sepals, filaments free, equal; anthers 4-chambered; ovary superior (1/2-inferior), chamber 1; ovule 1; styles, stigmas 1–4 (or stigmas sessile). Fruit: achene or utricle, generally falling with persistent calyx or bracts. Seed: 1, small, lenticular to spheric; seed coat smooth to finely dotted, warty, net-like, or prickly, margin occasionally winged.
100 genera, 1500 species: worldwide, especially deserts, saline or alkaline soils; some cultivated for food (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris, beet, Swiss chard; Spinacia oleracea L., spinach; Chenopodium quinoa Willd., quinoa); and some worldwide, naturalized ruderal or noxious agricultural weeds. Nitrophila treated in Amaranthaceae, Sarcobatus treated in Sarcobataceae. Key to genera revised by Elizabeth H. Zacharias to incorporate Extriplex and Stutzia, 2 genera segregated from Atriplex. —Scientific Editors: Bruce G. Baldwin, David J. Keil, Thomas J. Rosatti.

Key to Chenopodiaceae


G. Frederic Hrusa

Annual to shrub. Stem: simple to many-branched. Leaf: generally reduced distally along stem, thread-like to ± cylindric, spine-tipped, in age generally thick, rigid. Inflorescence: axillary; bracts 1–2; flowers generally 1 per axil. Flower: bisexual; sepals 4–5, thickened in fruit, persistent, generally tubercled to winged; stamens generally 5, exserted, style branches generally 2, exserted. Fruit: spheric to obovoid; tip ± depressed. Seed: horizontal.
± 100 species: ± worldwide. (Latin: salty, from habitats) [Mosyakin 2003 FNANM 4:398–403; Hrusa & Gaskin 2008 Madroño 55:113–131] An alternative treatment as separate genera Kali (Salsola australis, Salsola gobicola, Salsola paulsenii, Salsola ryanii, Salsola tragus), Caroxylon (Salsola damascena), and Salsola (Salsola soda) has been proposed (Akhani et al. 2007 Int J Plant Sci 168:931–956).

Key to Salsola

Annual < 1.5 m, glabrous to bristly; when dead readily breaking at base, generally tumbling. Stem: branched from base, branches wiry, longitudinally ribbed, generally red-striped. Leaf: opposite to alternate below, deciduous, alternate above, 8–52 mm; in age leathery, upper leaf bases widening, base margin translucent, tip sharp-pointed to spiny, fused with opposite bract or not. Inflorescence: bract surrounding fruit, ± cylindric, spiny, in age broad, thick, lower margin wing ± 0.5 mm, translucent. Flower: sepals 2–5 mm, tips not stiff; anthers 0.6–1.3 mm. Fruit: generally persistent; 2.9–8.4 mm diam including wings; wings 5, opaque, veins dark to pale, margins minutely toothed to unevenly scalloped (smooth), largest generally centrally notched, smallest linear to blunt-elliptic, sides ± parallel.
2n=36(54). Common. Disturbed places; < 2800 m. California; to eastern North America, Mexico; native to Eurasia. Extremely variable in habit, coloration, sepal wing shape, etc. Hybridizes with Salsola paulsenii. Jul–Oct {Noxious weed} [Online Interchange]
Unabridged synonyms: [Salsola iberica (Sennen & Pau) Botsch.; Salsola kali L. var. tenuifolia Tausch; Salsola pestifer A. Nelson]
Unabridged note: Most common in Great Central Valley, Central Western California, Modoc Plateau, Southwestern California, East of Sierra Nevada, Desert; uncommon or rare elsewhere, generally as a waif.

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Salsola, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Salsola tragus Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.