Frankenia salina (Molina) I.M. Johnston

Alkali Heath
Frankeniaceae (Frankenia Family)

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 Term Meanings.