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Montana Field Guides

Poison Suckleya - Suckleya suckleyana

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Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3S4
(see State Rank Reason below)
C-value: 3

Agency Status


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State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Suckleya suckleyana is widely scattered in eastern Montana. Plants exhibit an annual life cycle and associate with dried, sometimes saline, ponds, reservoirs, streambanks, ditches, and cultivated fields. Plants seem to persist with natural or human disturbance, such as in the drying of ponds. More information on locations, population sizes and longevity, and threats is needed to better assess its status in Montana.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Poison Suckleya (Suckleya suckleyana) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 10/18/2019
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Range Extent

    ScoreF - 20,000-200,000 sq km (~8,000-80,000 sq mi)

    Comment68,771 square kilometers

    Area of Occupancy

    ScoreD - 6-25 4-km2 grid cells

    CommentPlant occurs in 11 of the 30,590 4x4 square-kilometer grid cells that cover Montana.

    Number of Populations

    ScoreB - 6 - 20

    Comment11 observations

    Environmental Specificity

    ScoreC - Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce


    ScoreD - Low

    CommentPlants seem to require disturbance.

General Description
Monoecious annual. Stems branched, succulent, prostrate to ascending, 10–40 cm. Leaves farinose when young, long-petiolate; the blade rhombic to orbicular, 1–3 cm long with crenate margins. Inflorescence axillary flower clusters. Flowers unisexual. Male flowers a 4-parted calyx with 4 stamens. Female flowers enclosed in 2 partially united, hirsute bracts; calyx absent. Fruit enclosed by swollen, triangular bracts, 4–6 mm long with narrow, crenulate wing margins and divergent tips; seed smooth, brown, ca. 3 mm long (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Flowering in July-August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
This is the only species in its genus. It most resembles some of the prostrate, annual species of Atriplex, but differs by having pistillate bracts which are strongly compressed.

Range Comments
In MT only from Petroleum, Valley, Roosevelt and Dawson counties; a High Plains endemic from AB and SK south to TX and NM (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX; Gelin 2003 in Fl. N. Amer. Vo. 4).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 12

(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)

Drying mud along ponds and streams, and in disturbed, often alkaline soil on the plains.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Chu, G.L., H.C. Stutz, and S.C. Sanderson. 1991. Morphology and taxonomic position of Suckleya suckleyana (Chenopodiaceae). American Journal of Botany 78(1):63-68.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Poison Suckleya — Suckleya suckleyana.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from