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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

12. Chenopodiaceae, the Goosefoot Family

3. Salicornia L. -- Glasswort, saltwort

1. Salicornia rubra A. Nels.

Low, erect to ascending, taprooted annual, succulent, green to strongly red throughout, 0.5-2 dm tall; stems oppositely branched, fleshy, jointed at the nodes, often brittle and breaking with a crackling noise when the plants are walked upon. Leaves opposite, small and scalelike, mostly 1-2 mm long, obtuse to acute, connate at the base to form a short sheath at each node, scarious on the margins, the internodes shortened in the spikes, with the leaves serving as scalelike bracts. Flowers perfect or partly female, embedded in the fleshy, terminal spikes, arranged in groups of 3 above each bract, the central flower above the lateral 2, about reaching the next node upward, the joints of the spike ca. 2 mm long and about as wide in dried condition; calyx essentially unlobed, fleshy, completely enclosing the flower except for the slit-like opening through which the stamens and style branches barely protrude at anthesis; stamens 2(1); style branches 2. Fruit olive, ellipsoid, 1-1.2 mm long. Aug--early Oct. Saline or alkaline soil of flats, shores, seepage areas and ditches; frequent in n, c and e ND, n and ne SD, otherwise uncommon; (w MN to s B.C. and e WA, s to KS, NM, and NV).
GIF-Salicornia rubra
GIF- Distribution Map

Map key

Salicornia rubra. The succulent stems usually turn red in fall.  

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