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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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Dieter H. Wilken, except as specified

Annual to tree, sometimes monoecious or dioecious, glandular or with bead-like hairs that collapse with age, becoming scaly or powdery
Stem often fleshy
Leaves generally alternate, entire to lobed; veins generally pinnate
Inflorescence: raceme, spike, catkin-like, or spheric cluster, or flower 1; bracts 0–few
Flower: sepals 1–5, often 0 in pistillate flowers, free or fused, generally persistent in fruit; petals 0; stamens 0–5; ovary generally superior, chamber 1, ovule 1, styles 1–3
Fruit: generally utricle
Seed 1, vertical (fruit compressed side-to-side) or horizontal (fruit compressed top-to-bottom)
Genera in family: 100 genera, 1300 species: worldwide, especially deserts, saline or alkaline soils; some cultivated for food (Beta , beets, chard; Chenopodium , quinoa)
Recent taxonomic note: Recently treated in expanded Amaranthaceae



Dean Taylor and Dieter H. Wilken

Annual (generally monoecious) to shrub (generally dioecious), often scaly
Leaves generally alternate, generally entire; lower generally ± short-petioled; upper generally sessile, ± reduced
Staminate inflorescence: spike or spheric cluster; bracts 0
Pistillate inflorescence: clusters to spike- or panicle-like; bracts 2 per fruit, free to fused, generally compressed, generally sessile
Staminate flower: calyx lobes 3–5; stamens 3–5
Pistillate flower: calyx ± 0; ovary ovoid to spheric, style branches 2
Seed generally erect
Species in genus: ± 250 species: temp to subtropical worldwide
Etymology: (Latin: ancient name)
Generally in alkaline or saline soils; some weedy; some accumulate selenium.


A. patula L.


Annual 4–15 dm
Stem 1+ from base, erect; branches ascending to spreading, stiff, glabrous to sparsely fine-scaly
Leaf: blade 15–70 mm, linear to lanceolate, green, glabrous to sparsely scaly, entire to minutely toothed, base tapered or rounded
Staminate inflorescence: spike or panicle, generally terminal
Pistillate inflorescence: bracts in fruit 3–12 mm, 3–7 mm wide, fused at base, ovate to deltate, smooth to tubercled, entire to minutely dentate
Seeds of 2 forms (± 1–2 mm and black or ± 2.5–4 mm and brown)
Ecology: Saline soils
Elevation: < 1400 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, Cascade Range Foothills, Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, e N.America, Eurasia
Varieties intergrade.


var. patula

Leaves: lower with base tapered to ± rounded, tip acute
Pistillate inflorescence: bracts in fruit 3–8 mm, smooth, margin narrow, minutely dentate
Ecology: Habitats and range (except n Can, AK) of sp
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, Cascade Range Foothills, Central Coast, San Francisco Bay Area

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