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Vascular Plants of California
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Grayia spinosa

Higher Taxonomy
Family: ChenopodiaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: 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.
Genera In Family: 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. Note: 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.
eFlora Treatment Author: Mihai Costea, family description, key to genera, revised by Thomas J. Rosatti & Elizabeth H. Zacharias, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin, David J. Keil, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: GrayiaView Description 

Common Name: HOP-SAGE

Species In Genus: 1 sp. Etymology: (Asa Gray, eminent American botanist, Harvard University, 1810--1888)
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax & Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Holmgren 2003 FNANM 4:306--307
Grayia spinosa (Hook.) Moq.
Habit: Shrub rounded; scaly-puberulent, hairs branched, glabrous in age; generally dioecious. Stem: generally 3--10(15) dm, branches many, stiff; bark red-brown, +- white-ribbed, peeling in strips, older bark gray; twigs spine-like in age. Leaf: alternate, 5--25(40) mm, generally spoon-shaped to oblanceolate, flat, entire, tapered to short-petioled, blade green, tip generally +- white. Staminate Inflorescence: spike-like, terminal, 7--18 mm; bract +- leaf-like; flowers 2--5 per cluster. Pistillate Inflorescence: +- spike-like, axillary or terminal, 6--18 cm in fruit; flowers 1--few per cluster; bracts 3--10 mm, +- leaf-like; fruit bracts 2, 7--15 mm, fused, together sac-like, +- round, flat, winged, white to red-tinged, margins entire. Staminate Flower: calyx lobes 4, 1.5--2 mm, enclosing stamens; stamens 4--5. Pistillate Flower: stigmas 2, exserted. Fruit: generally 1.5--2 mm, brown. Chromosomes: 2n=36.
Ecology: Sandy to gravelly soils in scrub, pinyon/juniper woodland; Elevation: 300--2900 m. Bioregional Distribution: SNH (e slope), Teh, se SnJV, WTR (n slope), GB, DMoj, nw DSon; Distribution Outside California: to Washington, Montana, New Mexico. Flowering Time: Mar--Jun
Unabridged Synonyms: Chenopodium spinosum Hook.
Jepson eFlora Author: Margriet Wetherwax & Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Holmgren 2003 FNANM 4:306--307
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Botanical illustration including Grayia spinosa

botanical illustration including Grayia spinosa


Citation for this treatment: Margriet Wetherwax & Dieter H. Wilken 2012, Grayia spinosa, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 16, 2019.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2019, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on September 16, 2019.

Grayia spinosa
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© 2015 Keir Morse
Grayia spinosa
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© 2010 Steve Matson
Grayia spinosa
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© 2018 Neal Kramer
Grayia spinosa
click for enlargement
© 2019 Steve Matson
Grayia spinosa
click for enlargement
© 2015 Keir Morse
Grayia spinosa
click for enlargement
© 2010 Steve Matson

More photos of Grayia spinosa in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Grayia spinosa:
SNH (e slope), Teh, se SnJV, WTR (n slope), GB, DMoj, nw DSon
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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.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.