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..
Annual herbs, with alternate narrow entire I-nerved leaves, and perfect bractless small green flowers, solitary in the upper axils, forming terminal narrow leafy spikes, the upper leaves shorter and broader than the lower. Calyx of a solitary thin broad sepal, or rarely 2. Stamens 1-3, rarely more, and one of them longer. Ovary ovoid, styles 2. Utricle ellipsoid, mostly plano-convex, the pericarp firmly adherent to the vertical seed, its margins acute or winged. Embryo annular in the somewhat fleshy endosperm, its radicle pointing downward. [Greek, bug-seed.]
About 10 species, natives of the north temperate and subarctic zones the following typical.
Corispermum hyssopifolium L. Sp. Pl. 4. 1753.
Glabrous or pubescent, rather pale green, somewhat fleshy, stem striate, erect, sometimes zigzag, usually much branched, 6'-2o tall, the branches slender, ascending or divergent, sparingly leafy. Leaves narrowly linear, sessile, 1/2'-2' long, 1"-2" wide, cuspidate at the apex; upper leaves ovate or lanceolate, appressed-as-cending, or at length spreading, acute or acuminate at the apex, 1/4'-1/2' long, scarious-margined; utricle 1 1/2"-2" long, 1/2"-1" thick, narrowly winged, obtuse, subacute or mucronate by the persistent styles.
Corispermum nitidum Kit. (C. hyssopifolium viicrocarpum S. Wats.) with smaller fruit and upper leaves usually not imbricated, is a race of this, or a closely related species, ranging from Nebraska to Texas and Arizona and also occurring in Europe.
II. SALICÓRNIA [Tourn.] L. Sp. Pl. 3. 1753.
Fleshy glabrous annual or perennial herbs, with opposite terete branches, the leaves reduced to mere opposite scales at the nodes, the flowers sunken 3-7 together in the axils of the upper ones, forming narrow terminal spikes, perfect or the lateral ones staminate. Calyx obpyramidal or rhomboid, fleshy, 3-4-toothed or truncate, becoming spongy in fruit, deciduous. Stamens 2, or sometimes solitary, exserted; filaments cylindric, short; anthers oblong, large; ovary ovoid; styles or stigmas 2. Utricles enclosed by the spongy fruiting calyx, the pericarp membranous. Seed erect, compressed; embryo conduplicate; endosperm none. [Name Greek, salt-horn; from the saline habitat, and horn-like branches.]
About 10 species, natives of saline soil, widely distributed in both the Old World and the New. Only the following are known to inhabit North America. Type species: Salicornia europaea L.
Annuals; stems mostly erect.
Scales very short, acute or blunt; spikes 1"-1 1/2" in diameter.
Scales mucronate-tipped; spikes 2"-3" in diameter.
Perennial by a woody rootstock; stems trailing or decumbent.