1. Ceratocarpus arenarius Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 989. 1753.
角果藜 jiao guo li
Ceratocarpus caput-medusae Bluket; C. turkestanicus Savicz-Ryczegorski ex Iljin; C. utriculosus Bluket.
Plants 5-30 cm tall. Leaves 0.5-4 × 0.1-0.5 cm. Male flowers: perianth yellow, ca. 1.5 mm, membranous; filaments short, filiform; anthers subglobose. Utricle 5-10 × 2-5 mm. Fl. and fr. Apr-Jul.
Gobi desert, arid slopes, sands, wastelands. N Xinjiang [Afghanistan, Mongolia, Pakistan, SE Russia; C and SW Asia, SE Europe (S Ukraine, rarely introduced elsewhere)].
This is a polymorphic but clearly outlined species. Attempts to segregate eastern forms as a separate species, Ceratocarpus turkestanicus (C. utriculosus), were based on minor, variable, and non-correlated characters, such as branching habit, broader vs. narrower leaves, obovoid vs. trigonous fruiting bractlets, etc.
The plant is a common ephemeral in deserts.