An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

FIVEHOOK BASSIA, smother weed



FIVEHOOK BASSIA-Bassia hyssopifolia (Pall.) Kuntze

DESCRIPTION-A tall stout erect annual, 2 to 5 feet high, reproducing only by seeds. The plant is branched, commonly with one tough principal stem from which many stiff branches arise, often starting near the base. The flat narrow pointed leaves are alternate, mostly 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, and 1/12 to 1/8 inch broad, with smooth edges. Each has a cluster of shorter leaves in its axil, or a short spike with many small leaves and flowers, very crowded, and woolly with yellowish hairs. These flower spikes are longer at the tips of the stems, sometimes forming conspicuous branches 2 to 12 inches long at the top. The inconspicuous flowers have no petals.

There is a 5-parted, thin, yellowish hairy fruit, which encloses the seed until it matures. Each of the 5 parts develops a yellowish curved spine, hooked at the tip. The weak spines are 1/16 to 1/12 inch long at maturity, but are obvious in very young flowers. The oval seeds are 1/16 to 1/12 inch long, with a dark gray margin.

DISTRIBUTION-Fivehook bassia is a native of Asia. It grows in alkaline waste- lands and disturbed soil of roadsides and ditch banks, but is sometimes found in adjacent cultivated fields. It is locally abundant in Maricopa and Yuma counties, and now has spread northward to Mohave, Coconino, and Navajo counties; 100 to 5,700 feet elevation; flowering July to October. It is a late summer host of the leafhopper genus Lygus.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents

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