3. Suaeda arcuata Bunge in Beitr. Fl. Russl. 285. 1852; Boiss., Fl. Or. 4: 943. 1879; Iljin in Fl. SSSR 6: 182. 1936; Kitamura, Fl. Afgh. 106. 1960; Grubov, Pl. As. Centr. 2: 72. 1966; Soskov in Ovcz., Fl. Tadzh. SSR 3: 374. 1968; Pratov in Consp. Fl. As. Med. 3: 78. 1968; Ikonn., Opred. Vyssh. Rast. Badakhsh. 141. 1979; Kung & Chu in Fl. Reip. Pop. Sin. 25,2: 124. 1979; Mao in Fl. Xinjiang. 2,1: 64. 1994; Czerepan., Vasc. Pl. Russia States 188, 1995; Akhani & Podlech in Rech.f., Fl. Iran. 172: 136. 1997. - (Fig. 20, C1,2).
S. lipskyi Litv. in Sched. Herb. Fl. Ross. 3: 35, no. 736. 1901.
Annual, (5)10-50(70) x 5-50 cm, usually erect but rather variable in shape, primary stem dominant or surpassed by longer laterals; in living stage dark green, under stress often purplish, dried specimens brown; glabrous. Stem richly and repeatedly branched, at base up to 5(10) mm thick and becoming woody, when young pale green throughout, later yellowish, terete or delicately striate, thickest parts longitudinally fissured; branches ascending or spreading, terminating in bracteate, loose or dense, shorter or longer spike-like inflorescences, in apical parts often flexuose. Leaves usually very succulent, (5)7-15(20) x 1-1.5(2) mm, from almost semi-terete to terete, linear or oblong, the upper sometimes sub-clavate, obtuse, at base narrowed into a short petiole, straight or arcuate, erect or ascending, with C4 anatomy and internal aqueous tissue. Bracts up to 2.5 mm wide, mostly sub-clavate, distinctly arcuate, the upper sometimes shorter than floral or fruit clusters. Bracteoles 0.5-1 mm long, very variable in shape but always longer than wide, obtuse or acute, the margins lacerate to toothed. Glomerules (1)3-25-flowered, inserted on very short axillary branches that are often fused for a short distance with the petiole of the subtending bract. Perfect flowers weakly protandrous, drum-shaped to turbinate, 1.4-1.7 mm long, 1.8-2 mm wide; tepal lobes very succulent, fused for 1/3-2/5, incurved, green, with wide hyaline margins, cucullate. Stamens filaments band-shaped, at the dilated base 0.2 mm wide, finally 1-1.2 mm long, inserted near tepal bases; anthers 0.8-1 x 0.6-0.8 mm, 0.7 mm thick, divided for ¼-2/5. Ovary superior, narrowly ovoid, towards the apex with a 0.5 mm long beak-like projection; stigmas (2)3(4), 0.7-1 mm long, with long papillae, at base often fused, inserted in the sunken centre of the collar-like ovary apex. Fruiting perianth moderately enlarged, fig-shaped, up to 2(2.5) mm long, sometimes spongy. Seeds vertical, 0.95-1.2 x 0.75-1 mm, 0.65-0.75 mm thick, slightly flattened, beak short, testa black, shining, smooth to very delicately sculptured.
Holotype: [Kazakhstan] “Am Jan-Darja”, 20.07.1841 A. Lehmann (P?), 2 iso (LE).
Grows in abundance on disturbed habitats on clayey, usually slightly to strongly saline soils that are subject to temporary water-logging; it is most common along ditches and road sides in irrigated areas. On irrigated fields it sometimes forms mass vegetation after harvest; from (800)900-c. 2000 m; Distribution: From Iran and S Pakistan northwards through the countries of the former Soviet Middle Asia to Kashgaria in westernmost China.
S. arcuata and S. aegyptiaca look very much alike, and even the seeds are almost indiscernable. Generally, both species are separated geographically, but in Baluchistan, in altitudes of 800-1200 m they overlap. The most reliable differential characters are the shape of flowers (campanulate versus ± drum-shaped), ovary position (superior versus semi-inferior), ovary shape (beak-like upper part 1mm versus 0,5 mm), colour of plants (dark green and turning brown on drying versus fresh green to yellowish green and turning pale green on drying).