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common saltwort, prickly Russian thistle, Russian thistle, saltwort, tumbleweed

Habit Herbs, 5–50 cm, papillose to hispid or, occasionally, glabrous.

erect to ascending, branched from base;

branches arcuate or, occasionally, almost prostrate.



blade linear, mostly 1–2 mm wide in herbarium specimens, fleshy, usually not swollen at base, apex ± acuminate into rather firm, 1–1.5(–2.2) mm spine.


interrupted at maturity, usually 1-flower per axil of bract;

bracts alternate, not imbricate at maturity, reflexed, not distinctly swollen at base, apex narrowing into subulate spine.


bracteoles free or becoming connate and adnate to perianth base;

perianth segments with comparatively narrow wing or in lower flowers occasionally wingless (in S. kali subsp. pontica sometimes prominently winged), with weak or firm, acute apex, glabrous; fruiting perianth 4–6(–8) mm diam. 2n = 36.

Salsola kali

from FNA
AL; CA; CT; DC; DE; FL; GA; LA; MA; MD; ME; MS; NC; NH; NJ; NY; OR; PA; RI; SC; TX; VA; NB; NF; NS; PE; QC; coastal areas of Europe; n Africa; sw Asia [Introduced and naturalized in other coastal regions]
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Subspecies ca. 2 (2 in the flora).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Perianth segments with rigid, subspinose apex and prominent midvein; bracteoles distinct, not swol- len
subsp. kali
1. Perianth segments with weak apex and obscure midvein; bracteoles connate at base, swollen
subsp. pontica
Source FNA vol. 4, p. 400.
Parent taxa Chenopodiaceae > Salsola
Sibling taxa
S. collina, S. paulsenii, S. soda, S. tragus, S. vermiculata
Subordinate taxa
S. kali subsp. kali, S. kali subsp. pontica
Name authority Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 222. (1753)
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