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


Annual to subshrub
Stem simple to much-branched
Leaves generally reduced upward, thread-like to subcylindric, generally becoming thick, ridged, spine-tipped
Inflorescence axillary; bracts 1–2; flowers generally 1 per axil
Flower bisexual; sepals 4–5, in fruit thickened, persistent, generally tubercled to winged; stamens generally 5, exserted, style branches generally 2, exserted
Fruit spheric to obovoid; top ± depressed
Seed generally horizontal
Species in genus: ± 100 species: ± worldwide
Etymology: (Latin: salty, from habitats)


S. paulsenii Litv.

Annual generally < 50 cm, glabrous to minutely papillate
Stem much-branched
Leaf 5–32 mm, thread-like, becoming yellow-green, thick; base becoming wide, leathery; tip spiny; margin at base white to translucent
Inflorescence: bract subcylindric, spiny
Flower: calyx 2.5–3.5 mm, wings in fruit generally 2.5–4.5 mm, entire to irregularly, minutely toothed
Ecology: Common. Disturbed places
Elevation: 700–1800 m.
Bioregional distribution: n Western Transverse Ranges, East of Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert
Distribution outside California: to Utah; native to se Europe, c Asia
May hybridize with S. tragus ; needs further study.

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