Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



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



Species in genus: 1 sp
Etymology: (Asa Gray, eminent Am botanist, Harvard University, 1810–1888)


G. spinosa (Hook.) Moq.

Shrub generally < 1 m, generally dioecious; hairs simple or scaly
Stem: branches many, stiff; bark straw-colored to gray; twigs becoming spine-like
Leaf 5–35 mm, generally elliptic to oblanceolate, flat, entire, tapered to short-petioled
Staminate inflorescence spike-like, terminal, 7–18 mm; bract ± leaf-like; flowers < 8 per axil
Pistillate inflorescence ± spike-like, axillary or terminal, 6–18 cm in fruit; bracts 3–10 mm, ± leaf-like; bractlets 2, 7–15 mm, fused, together sac-like, ± round, flat, winged, white to red-tinged
Staminate flower: calyx lobes 4; stamens 4
Pistillate flower: calyx 0; stigmas 2
Fruit generally 2–3 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=36
Ecology: Sandy to gravelly soils, scrub, pinyon/juniper woodland
Elevation: 500–2800 m.
Bioregional distribution: High Sierra Nevada (e slope), Tehachapi Mountain Area, s Inner South Coast Ranges, Western Transverse Ranges (n slope), Great Basin Floristic Province, Mojave Desert, nw Sonoran Desert
Distribution outside California: to Washington, Montana, New Mexico
Flowering time: Mar–Jun
Sometimes included in Atriplex
Horticultural information: TRY; also STBL.

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