Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Salsola kali
L., Chenopodiaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  no

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 18.5 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

English: common saltwort, prickly Russian thistle, prickly saltwort, Russian thistle, tumbleweed

Spanish: barrila borde, barrila pinchosa

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Herbs, 5-50 cm, papillose to hispid or, occasionally, glabrous. Stems erect to ascending, branched from base; branches arcuate or, occasionally, almost prostrate. Leaves alternate; blade linear, mostly 1-2 mm wide in herbarium specimens, fleshy, usually not swollen at base, apex ± acuminate into rather firm, 1-1.5(-2.2) mm spine. Inflorescences interrupted at maturity, usually 1-flower per axil of bract; bracts alternate, not imbricate at maturity, reflexed, not distinctly swollen at base, apex narrowing into subulate spine. Flowers: bracteoles free or becoming connate and adnate to perianth base; perianth segments with comparatively narrow wing or in lower flowers occasionally wingless (in S. kali subsp. pontica sometimes prominently winged), with weak or firm, acute apex, glabrous; fruiting perianth 4-6(-8) mm diameter" 

subsp. kali:  "Perianth segments with rigid, subspinose apex and prominent midvein; bracteoles distinct, not swollen."
subsp. pontica:  "Perianth segments with weak apex and obscure midvein; bracteoles connate at base, swollen." 
(Flora of North America online).

See also Salsola tragus.

Habitat/ecology:  "Heath- and shrubland, coastal beaches.  In the native range, this highly variable plant is common on coastal beaches butgrows also on non-saline soils.  There are many subspecies and varieties in Europe.  In the Himalayas, it ascends to 4,500 m elevation.  Where invasive, it displaces native plants and competes for space,water and nutrients.  Some forms break off at soil level and disperse the seeds by rolling across the landscape"  (Weber, 2003; p. 382).  "Disturbed areas, roadsides, ditchbanks, fallow abandoned grain-fields, overgrazed ranges, and pastures. Common to abundant in Western and parts of the Central States of the US, occasional along the eastern and southern coasts, where it is spreading rapidly" (Reed, 1970, cited in Duke, 1983).  "Estimated to range from Cool Temperate Desert to Steppe to Subtropical Very Dry to Thorn Forest Life Zones, Russian thistle is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 2.6 to 9.7 dm (mean of 4 cases = 4.9), annual temperature of 9.2 to 23.8°C (mean of 4 cases = 15.3), and pH of 7.0 to 7.9 (mean of 2 cases = 7.4)"  (Duke, 1983). 

In New Zealand, "shingle and sand behind beaches, dry gravelly sites."

Propagation:  "A self seeding annual, producing up to a million seed a plant"  (Duke, 1983).  "Seeds may remain viable for 6-12 months"  (Weber, 2003; p. 382).

Native range:  Europe (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) introduced
invasive
Duke, James A. (1983)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
invasive
Duke, James A. (1983)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) introduced
invasive
Duke, James A. (1983)
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
invasive
Duke, James A. (1983)
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro (2004) (p. 182)
var. kali and var. tenuifolia Tausch
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) introduced
invasive
Duke, James A. (1983)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 534)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
Duke, James A. (1983)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Chile (Republic of) introduced
invasive
Duke, James A. (1983)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Oregon) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (Washington) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Control: 

Physical:  "Establish desirable plants such as competitive perennial grasses in disturbed or open areas and after the control of russian thistle.  Pull or uproot young plants or hoe just below ground level before seed set. Cutting flowers before maturity has worked for some stewards on preserves.  Mowing Salsola kali tends to cause the plant to grow low but repeated mowing may provide control"  (Bugwood Wiki).

Chemical:  "Some plants in the Pacific Northwest are resistant to sulfonylurea herbicides such as Glean®, Finesse®, Ally®, Amber®, Express® and Harmony Extra®. Resistance to the trazine herbicides has also been observed. A non-selective broadleaf herbicide such as glyphosate can provide control of Salsola kali. Apply the herbicide before seed set. An application of 2,4-D may actually cause S. kali to become tough and leathery, producing a plant that is more difficult to manage.  (Bugwood Wiki).


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This page was created on 19 JUN 2009 and was last updated on 20 JAN 2011.