Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains
12. Chenopodiaceae, the Goosefoot Family
4. Suaeda Forsk. -- Sea blite
1. Suaeda depressa (Pursh) S. Wats.
Erect to low and spreading, taprooted annual, sometimes reddish-tinged; stems
simple to more often freely branched, (0.5)1-6 dm long. Leaves numerous,
alternate, sessile, linear, semiterete, rather succulent, 5-30 mm long, ca.
1 mm wide, acute, reduced to short bracts in the inflorescence. Flowers
perfect to imperfect, greenish or sometimes reddish, very small, 1-2 mm across
in fruit, smaller in flower, tightly clustered in sessile glomerules of 3-7
flowers in the axils of the bracts, the glomerules forming elongate spikes which
usually comprise the bulk of the mature plant; bracts mostly 1-6 mm long,
somewhat broader than the leaves; perianth deeply 5-parted, the lobes
very unequal, fleshy, corniculate on the back, 1 or 2 much more corniculate
on the back than the others, cucullate, ca. 1 mm long at fruit maturity; stamens
5 or fewer; styles usually 2(3-5), very short. Fruit enclosed
by the perianth, horizontal, the membranous pericarp very loose on the seed;
seed black, shiny, oval, ca. 1 mm in diameter. Aug--Sep. Alkaline or
saline flats, shores, stream banks and seepage areas; common in ND and n SD,
less so s SD and NE; (w MN to B.C., s to MO, TX, AZ and CA).