Greasewood

Genus Sarcobatus
Goosefoot Family (Chenopodiaceae)





Greasewood
   -- Male Flowers


Greasewood
(Sarcobatus vermiculatus)


This is a shrubby plant with stiff, spiny branches. In shape and size, it is similar to sagebrush and rabbitbrush. In color, it is a much more vivid green than most desert plants. It has very narrow fleshy leaves, which look somewhat like needles of a fir tree.

The male flowers occur in catkin-like spikes at the tips of the branches. They mature earlier than the female flowers to ensure that their pollen will not fertilize flowers from the same plant.



Greasewood is able to grow in saline soil, which is intolerable to many plants. The plant may be toxic to livestock if large amounts are eaten. However early native Americans used the salty-tasting leaves as greens, and also ate the seeds. It has a very deep root system, able to reach ground water far below the surface.



Greasewood
   Photograph by Sandra Bray





Government Creek Cove
Boulder Mountain
Wayne County, Utah


References


Photographed
by Sandra Bray