Description from Flora of China
Herbs annual, 15-40 cm tall. Stem branched from base, usually light red-brown, rigid, densely hispid. Leaves semiterete, straight, 1.5-3 cm × 1.5-2 mm, rigid, hispid, base slightly expanded, apex spinose mucronate. Inflorescence spikelike, loose; bracts narrowly ovate, apex elongate, spinose mucronate; bractlets slightly reflexed, broadly lanceolate, longer than perianth. Perianth (including wings) 6-8 mm in diam. in fruit; segments broadly lanceolate, submembranous, hardened in fruit, abaxially winged from proximal middle part, hispid; portion of segment above wing connivent with others into a long, thin cone, densely hispid, apex long acuminate, rigidly spinose mucronate; 3 wings reniform or semiorbicular, larger; other 2 wings narrower. Stigmas filiform, longer than style. Seed horizontal. Fl. Jul-Aug, fr. Sep-Oct.
Salsola ×gobicola Iljin (Bot. Mater. Gerb. Bot. Inst. Komarova Acad. Nauk SSSR 17: 124. 1955) is a hybrid between S. paulsenii and S. tragus (see Rilke, Biblioth. Bot. 149: 164. 1999).
Gobi desert, saline sandy places. N Xinjiang [Afghanistan, W Mongolia; C and SW Asia, SE Europe; naturalized in SW North America].