Alkali heath is a herbaceous to suffrutescent
perennial growing to approximately 2' tall in salt marshes along the
coast and alkali flats in the Mojave Desert. Its leaves are opposite,
entire and glabrous to densely hairy, the lower ones obovate and the
upper narrow, and axillary fascicles are often present. The solitary
rose-purple flowers are about 3/8" long and are sessile in the
upper leaf axils. The 5-cleft calyx is tubular with acute teeth,
and the corolla contains five petals with 4-7, generally 5 or 6, stamens.
There are normally three style branches. The fruit is a linear
capsule 3/16" long with 1-20 brown seeds. This species was
listed in Philip Munz's Flora of Southern California as Frankenia
grandifolia. It blooms from June to October. These four pictures
were taken in Upper Newport Bay.
Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Frankenia 2) salina.
Pronunciation: fran-KEN-ee-a sa-LIE-na.
Click here for Botanical