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Nitrophila occidentalis

Higher Taxonomy
Family: AmaranthaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to subshrub; monoecious and/or dioecious; occasionally spiny; hairs simple (branched). Leaf: blade simple, alternate or opposite, margins entire or serrate; veins pinnate; stipules 0. Inflorescence: axillary or terminal; 3-flowered cymes in dense spikes, heads or panicles; bracts 0 or 1--5, persistent; bractlets 0--2. Flower: bisexual or unisexual, small, green (+- white), yellow or purple; perianth parts 0 or (1)3--5, free or fused basally, scarious or hardened, persistent; stamens 1--5, opposite perianth parts, free or basally fused as a tube, generally unequal, occasionally alternate with appendages on stamen tubes (pseudostaminodes), anthers 2- or 4-chambered; ovary superior, chamber 1; ovule 1 (2--many); style (0)1--3, stigmas 1--3(5). Fruit: utricle; generally with persistent perianth or bracts. Seed: 1 [2+], small, lenticular to spheric, smooth or dotted to striate or tubercled.
Genera In Family: +- 75 genera, 900 species: cosmopolitan, especially disturbed, arid, saline or alkaline soils; some cultivated for food, ornamental; many naturalized, ruderal or agricultural weeds. Note: Amaranthaceae including Chenopodiaceae by some. Polycnemoideae, represented in California by Nitrophila, formerly considered subfamily of Chenopodiaceae, but needs further research. Guilleminea densa (Willd.) Moq. var. aggregata Uline & W.L. Bray is a waif. Froelichia gracilis (Hook.) Moq. is an historical waif.
eFlora Treatment Author: Mihai Costea, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: NitrophilaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb, glabrous, rhizomed. Stem: decumbent to erect, +- ribbed. Leaf: opposite, sessile to clasping, linear to ovate, fleshy. Inflorescence: axillary, flowers 1--3; bractlets 1 or 2 per flower. Flower: calyx 5(7)-parted, enclosing fruit, papery, lobes erect, overlapping, ovate, back ribbed, persistent in fruit; stamens 5, included; style slender, = ovary, stigmas 2. Fruit: indehiscent, +- 2 mm. Seed: vertical, lenticular, black or brown. Chromosomes: x=9.
Species In Genus: +- 5 species: western United States, Central America, South America. Etymology: (Greek: soda loving) Note: In Chenopodiaceae in TJM (1993).
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax, Dieter H. Wilken & Noel H. Holmgren

Nitrophila occidentalis (Moq.) S. Watson
Stem: decumbent to erect. Leaf: sessile, occasionally scale-like on decumbent stems. Inflorescence: bracts 2; flowers 1, sessile, or 2--3, short-pedicelled. Flower: calyx 2--3.3 mm, pink, white in age. Seed: +- 1 mm, black or brown, dull.
Ecology: Moist, alkaline soils; Elevation: < 2100 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR/CaRH (Shasta Valley), GV, SCo, w PR, GB, DMoj; Distribution Outside California: to eastern Oregon, Utah, northern Mexico. Flowering Time: May--Oct
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax, Dieter H. Wilken & Noel H. Holmgren
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botanical illustration including Nitrophila occidentalis


Citation for this treatment: Margriet Wetherwax, Dieter H. Wilken & Noel H. Holmgren 2017. Nitrophila occidentalis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 29, 2017.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2017. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 29, 2017.

Nitrophila occidentalis
click for enlargement
© 1998 Larry Blakely
Nitrophila occidentalis
click for enlargement
© 1998 Larry Blakely

More photos of Nitrophila occidentalis in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Nitrophila occidentalis:
KR/CaRH (Shasta Valley), GV, SCo, w PR, GB, DMoj;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records

CCH collections by month

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