5. Frankenia salina (Molina) I. M. Johnston, Contr. Gray Herb. 70: 92. 1924.
Alkali heath or seaheath, yerba reuma Alkali heath or seaheath, yerba reuma
Ocimum salinum Molina, Sag. Stor. Nat. Chili, 139. 1782 (as Ocymum); Frankenia grandifolia Chamisso & Schlechtendal; F. grandifolia subsp. campestris (A. Gray) A. E. Murray; F. grandifolia var. campestris A. Gray
Subshrubs, sprawling, 1.2–6 dm; branches glabrous, or puberulous or short-pilose, hairs erect or suberect. Leaves: petiole (0.5–)0.7–2(–2.5) mm, not markedly tapering toward blade, apex ± similar in width to or narrower than base of blade; blade grayish yellow-green, usually obovate to narrowly oblanceolate, oblong-elliptic to linear, sometimes ovate or lanceolate, flat, 3–13.5 × 0.9–6(–7) mm, margins slightly to loosely revolute, abaxial surface mostly exposed, adaxial surface scattered-hairy to puberulous. Inflorescences simple or compound dichasia or solitary flowers. Flowers: calyx (4–)4.5–8.5(–9) mm, lobes (4–)5(–6), 0.5–1.5(–2) mm; petals (4–)5(–6), white to dark pink or blue-purple, spatulate to narrowly oblong-oblanceolate, 5.5–11(–11.5) mm; stamens (4–)6(–8), exserted, 5–11.5 mm; anthers yellowish to dark red or purple-red; style exserted, 3(–4)-branched; ovary 3(or 4)-carpellate; ovules 8–26, attached along sutures, funiculi usually erect, sometimes curved. Seeds 1–20 per capsule, ellipsoid to ovoid-ellipsoid, 0.8–1.5 mm.
Flowering Apr–Nov. Saline and alkaline soil, salt marshes, alkali flats; 0–800 m; Calif., Nev.; Mexico (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Coahuila, San Luis Potosí, Sonora); South America (Chile); introduced in Pacific Islands (Hawaii).
Frankenia salina, as circumscribed here, occurs in the United States, Mexico, and Chile. The North American and South American populations, which previously had been recognized as F. grandifolia and F. salina respectively, are now considered conspecific (M. A. Whalen 1987). In North America, F. salina occurs in California, Nevada, and Mexico (Baja California and Sonora, with some highly disjunct populations in Coahuila and San Luis Potosí). In California, it occurs in both coastal and inland areas and is common in coastal salt marshes. The inland and coastal populations have sometimes been recognized as F. grandifolia var. campestris and var. grandifolia, respectively. Plants from inland regions tend to have proportionally narrower leaves and shorter, lighter-colored petals than those from coastal regions; there is considerable variation in these traits within regions (Whalen) and these infraspecific taxa are not recognized here. Frankenia salina was introduced on Tern Island in Hawaii, where it was collected in 1968 (Herbst 1217 BISH); W. L. Wagner et al. (1990) noted that this population did not survive a 1969 storm.