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Suaeda nigra

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About Bush Seepweed (Suaeda nigra) Suaeda nigra (formerly Suaeda moquinii) is a species of flowering plant in the amaranth family known by the common names Mojave seablite and bush seepweed. Suaeda nigra is native to much of western North America, from central Canada through the Western United States, Great Basin, the Mojave Desert in California, and into northern Mexico. It grows in many types of habitat with saline and alkaline substrates, such as desert flats, playas, and seeps. It is mostly an inland species but is occasionally seen in coastal areas, such as estuaries. Suaeda nigra is a shrub or subshrub growing from a woody base with many spreading branches, reaching up to 1. 5 metres (4. 9 ft) in height. The plants may grow as annuals at times. The species is genetically diverse and quite variable in appearance. It may be hairy to hairless but is usually waxy. It may be green to red to dark purple in color, sometimes almost black. The fleshy leaves are linear to lance-shaped, 1 to 3 centimeters long, and flat or cylindrical. Flowers occur in clusters along the upper stems, each cluster containing 1 to 12 flowers. Leaflike bracts accompany the clusters. The flower has no petals and is composed of a calyx of fleshy, rounded sepals. The fruit is an utricle that grows within the calyx.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
3 - 4.9 ft (0.9 - 1.5 m)

Max. Width
3 ft (0.9 m)


Fleshy and succulent, grey-green color

Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Saline/alkaline flats with subsurface moisture


Elevation ?
-210' - 4976'

Annual Precip. ?
2.1" - 38.8"

Summer Precip. ?
0.12" - 2.55"

Coldest Month ?
34.2° F - 61.3° F

Hottest Month ?
61.8° F - 90.3° F

Humidity ?
0.85 vpd - 49.33 vpd

Soil Description
Usually found in rocky, sandy or gravelly soil with subterranean water

Soil PH
7.0 - 8.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Saline Soil, Tolerates Sodic Soil


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 5° F

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Never or Almost Never Used

Max. Summer Water ?
Keep moist
No Summer Water
Keep moist


Nursery Availability
Rarely Available

Other Names
Botanical Names
Suaeda moquinii|Suaeda torreyana

Common Names
Mojave Seablite

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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