Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad.
- Family: Goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae)
- Flowering: July-October
- Field Marks: The following combination of characters distinguishes this species: annual; greenish flowers without petals, borne in the axils of the leaves; leaves without teeth.
- Habitat: Disturbed areas.
- Habit: Annual herb with fibrous roots.
- Stems: Upright, branched, up to 4 feet tall, usually hairy but occasionally nearly smooth.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, linear to lanceolate to obovate, up to 4 inches long, up to 1/2 inch wide, flat, hairy or smooth, pointed or rounded at the tip, tapering to the base.
- Flowers: Borne in clusters in the axils of the leaves.
- Sepals: 5, green, united to form a minute cup, ciliate, curving over the fruit at maturity.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 5.
- Pistils: Ovary superior; styles usually 2, rarely 3.
- Fruits: Spherical but somewhat flattened, containing an obovoid seed 1/8-1/6 inch long, the seed brown or black, not shiny, smooth or granular.
- Notes: This species is sometimes known as fireweed. Cultivated forms have a spherical
growth form and turn reddish in the autumn. This species varies in degree of hairiness and in
its size and shape.
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