Halogeton (Halogeton glomeratus)

{Click on an image to enlarge, then use the back button to return to this page}
This page last updated on 03/30/2018
(Fig. 01)

Picture Notes The picture in (Fig. 01) was taken along a hike in the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. Because it is still somewhat winter, they are all brown and pretty much dried out. Come spring and summer they will turn green and can actually begin to flower like shown in (Figs. 02 & 03). For more on this hike and location go to ...  Tufa Beds Trails (TUSK) - Trip Notes for 03/28/2018.

Description: Halogeton (Halogeton glomeratus) is a species of flowering plant in the amaranth family known by the common names saltlover, Aral barilla, and halogeton. It is native to Russia and China, but the plant is probably better known in the western United States, where it is an introduced species and a notorious noxious weed. This annual herb is a hardy halophyte, thriving in soils far too saline to support many other plants. It also grows in alkali soils such as those on alkali flats and disturbed, barren habitat. It can be found in sagebrush and shadscale habitat, and can grow well in areas with cold winters.

This plant produces a usually erect stem with several curving branches up to about 10 inches tall. It has a taproot reaching up to half a meter deep in the soil and has many lateral roots. The branches are lined with narrow, fleshy, blue-green leaves each up to about 2 centimeters long tipped with stiff bristles. The inflorescences are located all along the stem branches next to the leaves. Each inflorescence is a small cluster of tiny bisexual and female-only flowers accompanied by waxy bracts. The winged, membranous flowers surround the developing fruit, which is all that remains on the plant when it is ripe, the leaves and flower parts having fallen away. The fruit is a pale cylindrical utricle. The extremely invasive plant produces large amounts of seeds, which are dispersed by many vehicles, including human activity (being walked on), animals (including ants), water flow, wind, and by being carried on the dry plant when it breaks off at ground level and rolls away as a tumbleweed. The seeds have the ability to germinate within one hour after being exposed to water. It is destructive to the land of the American west because its excretion of mineral salts makes it harder for other plants to grow where it occurs. The growth of the plant is controlled by introducing certain nonnative plants, such as immigrant kochia (Kochia prostrata) and crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum), which compete successfully with halogeton. Land that is denuded due to contruction processes is susceptible to halogeton invasion and very difficult to eradicate. It flowers between July and September (Fig. 03.

(Fig. 02)

(Fig. 03)