winged pigweed

(Cycloloma atriplicifolium)

Conservation Status
winged pigweed
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Winged pigweed is a 4 to 32 tall, densely branched, rounded, annual tumbleweed rising from a big taproot.

The stems are up to 2 long, spreading, and much branched. They are covered with soft, short or long, woolly hairs when young, but become hairless at maturity. All of the terminal branches end in flower spikes.

The leaves are alternate, up to 3 long and ¾ wide at the base of the stem, getting progressively smaller as they ascend the stem. They are lance shaped, with large, irregular, coarse, wavy but sharp teeth. They are pointed at the tip and taper to the base. They are attached to the stem on short leaf stalks or on no stalk at all. They may be hairy or hairless. They are pale green when young but turn dark purple as the plant matures and soon fall off.

The inflorescence is a branched, interrupted, flowering spike at the end of every stem and branch. The branches of the inflorescence spread widely and loosely. The spikes have minute bracts scattered unevenly along their lengths, and from the axils of the bracts a single or a few flowers rise.

The flowers are minute, or slightly more wide, greenish, and are attached to the spike without flower stalks. They have no petals. The 5 sepals are fused together from the base and urn-shaped to more than half their length, pointed at their tips. They are green and covered with soft, woolly hairs, but soon become hairless and turn reddish.

The fruit is small, a little more than wide, round, thin walled, one-seeded, and bladder–like. It has a distinctive, thin, flat, circular, nearly transparent membrane (wing) extending a little more than from the margin. It is this wing that gives the plant its common name and makes it easy to identify.

As the plant matures the leaves fall away. The branches harden, their tips bend inward, and they become brittle. The stems soon separate from the roots close to the ground. At this point the plant is a tumbleweed. It spreads its seeds as it is blown in the wind.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

4 to 32

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Green, turning reddish

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  The circular, winged fruit are diagnostic.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry. Prairies, fields, roadsides, disturbed sites. Full or partial sun. Sandy soil.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

July to August

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  12/26/2011      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Caryophyllanae  
 

Order

Caryophyllales (pinks, cactuses, and allies)  
 

Family

Amaranthaceae (Amaranth)  
  Subfamily Chenopodioideae  
  Tribe Dysphanieae  
 

Genus

Cycloloma  
       
 

Winged pigweed is the only species in the genus Cycloma.

 
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Cyclolepis platyphylla

Cycloloma platyphylla

Kochia atriplicifolia

Salsola atriplicifolia

Salsola platyphylla

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

tumble ringwing

tumbleweed

tumbling-ringwing

winged pigweed

winged-pigweed

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.

 

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.

 

Wing

A thin, flat membranous, usually transparent, appendage on the margin of a structure.

       
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  winged pigweed   winged pigweed
       
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Created 12/26/2011

Last Updated:

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