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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Black Greasewood - Sarcobatus vermiculatus

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 4

External Links

General Description
Monoecious deciduous shrubs to 2 m high with glabrous foliage. Stems rigid, with whitish bark and thorns. Leaves alternate at least above, mostly on long shoots, sessile, fleshy, linear, 1–3 cm long. Inflorescence: spikes bracteate below, 1–3 cm long. Flowers unisexual. Male flowers above, consisting of 2 to 4 stamens concealed by a peltate scale, congested into a cone-like spike. Female flowers perigynous, well separated, solitary in axils of leaf-like bracts, with a cup-like, united calyx; pistil 1. Fruit an achene 3–5 mm long surrounded by the calyx, the lobes enlarging into a broad, wavy-margined wing 7–10 mm across (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range

Range Comments
In MT nearly statewide apart from northwestern counties; WA to AB, SK and ND, south to CA, NM, and Mexico (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX; Hils et al. 2003 in Fl. N. Amer. Vol. 4).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 222

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Saline soil of stream terraces, badlands; plains, valleys (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Brotherson, J. D., L. L. Rasmussen, and R. D. Black. 1986. Comparative habitat and community relationships of Atriplex confertifolia and Sarcobatus vermiculatus in central Utah. Great Basin Naturalist 46(2):348-357.
    • Lesica, P., M. T. Lavin, and P. F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Black Greasewood — Sarcobatus vermiculatus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from