This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
An erect much branched shrub, with spiny branches, alternate linear fleshy entire sessile leaves. Flowers monoecious or dioecious, the staminate in terminal ament-like spikes, the pistillate solitary in the axils, or rarely several together. Staminate flowers without a calyx; stamens 2-5 together under peltate rhombic-ovate acute spirally arranged scales; filaments short. Pistillate flowers sessile or very nearly so; calyx compressed, ovoid or oblong, slightly 2-lipped, adnate to the bases of the 2 subulate exserted papillose stigmas, appendaged by a narrow border which expands into a membranous horizontal wing in fruit. Seed vertical, the testa translucent, double; embryo coiled into a flat spiral, green; endosperm none. [Name Greek, flesh-thorn, from the fleshy leaves and thorny stems.]
A monotypic genus of western North America.
Batis (?) vermiculata Hook. Fl. Bor. Am. 2: 128. 1838.
Sarcobatus vermicularis Torr. Emory's Rep. 150. 1848.
Glabrous or the young foliage somewhat pubescent, much branched, 2°-10° high, the branches slightly angled, leafy, nearly white, some of them leafless and spine-like. Stem 1-3' in diameter; wood yellow, very hard; leaves obtuse or subacute, 1/2'-1 1/2' long, 1"-1 1/2" wide, narrowed at the base; spikes of staminate flowers 1/4'-1' long, 1 1/2"-2" in diameter, cylindric, short-peduncled or sessile; wing of the calyx 4"-6" broad when mature, conspicuously veined.
In dry alkaline and saline soil, western Nebraska, Wyoming to Nevada and New Mexico. Wood used for fuel, for want of better, in the regions where it occurs. June-July. Fruit mature Sept.-Oct.
13. DÓNDIA Adans. Fam. Pl. 2: 261. 1763. [SuaÈda Forsk. Fl. AEg. Arab. 69. pl. 18b. 1775.] Fleshy annual or perennial herbs, or low shrubs, with alternate narrowly linear thick or nearly terete entire sessile leaves, and perfect or polygamous bracteolate flowers, solitary or clustered in the upper axils. Calyx 5-parted or 5-cleft, the segments sometimes keeled or even slightly winged in fruit, enclosing the utricle. Stamens 5. Styles usually 2, short. Pericarp separating from the vertical or horizontal seed. Embryo coiled into a flat spiral. Endosperm wanting or very little. [In honor of Jacopodi Dondi, Italian naturalist of the fourteenth century.]
About 50 species, of wide geographic distribution. Besides the following, some 6 others occur in the western and southern parts of North America. Type species: Chenopodium altissimum L.
Annuals of the Atlantic sea coast; leaves not broadened at the base.
Dark green, not glaucous; sepals acutely keeled; seed black.
Light green, glaucous; sepals scarcely keeled; seed dark red.
Perennial of the western plains; leaves broadened at the base.