1. Suaeda fruticosa Forssk. ex J. F. Gmelin in L., Syst. Nat. ed. 13. 2: 503. 1791; Forssk., Fl. Aeg.-Arab.70. 1775; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 5: 13. 1886; Cooke, Fl. Bombay 590. 1906; Parker, For. Fl. Punj. 416. 1918; Kitamura, Fl. Afgh. 106. 1960; Kitamura, Plants W. Pak. Afghan. 42. 1964; Jafri, Fl. Karachi 98. 1966; Zoh., Fl. Palest. 1: 159. 1966; Bhandari, Fl. Ind. Desert 331. 1978; Mobayen, Fl. pl. vasc. Iran 2: 248. 1979; Freitag in Flora 183: 156. 1989; Mandaville, Fl. East Saudi Arabia 83. 1990; Akhani & Podlech in Rech.f., Fl. Iran. 172: 148. 1997; Chaudhary, Fl. Kingd. Saudi Arabia 1: 174. 1999. - (Figs. 20, A; 21).
Vern.: Láani, Láana (Punjab, Sindh); Reget, Righit, Rigit (Baluchistan).
Salsola lana Edgew. in Hook. J. Bot. 2: 286. 1840; Suaeda mesopotamica Eig in Palestine J. Bot., Jerusalem Ser. 3: 127. 1945; Aellen in Rech. f., Fl. Lowl. Iraq 194. 1964; S. baluchestanica Akhani & Podlech in Rech. f., Fl. Iran. 172: 151. 1997; S. vermiculata sensu Boiss., Fl. Or. 4: 940. 1879; Aellen, l.c. 193; Zohary, Fl. Palest. 1: 160. 1966; R. R. Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. Kashm. 227. 1972; Mobayen, l.c. 247; Greuter, Burdet & Long, Med-Checklist ed. 2: 1: 314. 1984; Mandaville, l.c. 83; Boulos in Miller & Cope, Fl. Arab. Penins. Socotra 1: 257. 1996; Chaudhary, l.c. 174; S. nudiflora sensu Burkill, Work. List Fl. Pl. Baluchistan 65. 1909; Jafri, l.c. 98.
Shrub up to 1.6(2) m in height and 2(3) m in diameter, very variable in growth form, mostly forming erect semi-globular bushes, more rarely prostrate mats, in living stage very variable in colour, from glaucous to purplish and from dark to blackish green, drying black, youngest organs (preferably stems) covered with fugacious hairs. Stem intricately branched from base, at base up to 3 cm thick, young branches erect, ascending or spreading, pale green or purplish, smooth, with internodes of (1)2-5(8) mm, after shedding of leaves very rough by the remains of leaf bases, turning grey, finally longitudinally fissured. Leaves succulent, (3)6-17(22) long, (1)1.5-4(8) mm wide, (0.7)1.2-2(2.5) mm thick, narrow leaves linear and terete or semi-terete, wider leaves linear or oblong, semi-terete or flat on both sides, broad leaves oblong to elliptic and even almost circular, flat on both sides, obtuse, at base attenuate into a petiole of up to 1 mm, or sessile, straight, ascending or spreading with C4 anatomy and central aqueous tissue. Inflorescences terminal in simple or branched spikes, in upper parts mostly clearly flexuose. Bracts (1.5)3-5(9) mm long, (1)2-2.5 mm wide, 1.5 mm thick, spreading or recurved, usually strongly arcuate, in case of dense floral clusters the upper sometimes hidden. Flowers 3-very many in axillary clusters. Bracteoles membranous, (0.5)0.7-0.9(1) x 0.3-0.7 mm, narrowly to broadly lanceolate, erose-dentate to ciliate. Bisexual flowers ±drum-shaped, 1.0-1.5 mm wide, 0.5-0.6(0.8) mm high, female flowers 0.5-1 mm wide, ovoid to ellipsoid. Tepals in bisexual flowers fused for about 1/3 and very succulent, in the female flowers shorter, fused for ½, non-succulent. Stamens 5, inserted near tepal base; filaments (0.8)1-1.2(1.4) mm long, band-shaped, anthers (0.5)0.6-0.8(1) mm long. Ovary ovoid to conical or pear-shaped, apically truncate, in female flowers often ±cylindric, (0.5)1-1.3 mm high, c. 0.5-0.6 mm in diam.; stigmas 3(4), (0.25)0.4-0.6 mm long, shortly papillose, inserted in the sunken center of the collar-like ovary apex. Fruiting perianth in bisexual flowers moderately enlarged, 1.5-2.5 mm in diam., up to 1.5 mm high, at base conical, truncate, in female flowers ±unchanged. Seeds in bisexual flowers horizontal, in female flowers vertical or oblique, 0.8-1.3 mm long, 0.65-1.0 mm wide, 0.5-0.7 mm thick, almost globular to drop-shaped, slightly flattened, beak short, testa black, shining, smooth.
Fl. Per.: (March) April-Sept.
Lectotype: [Saudi Arabia] “Gomfodae” (Al Qumfidhah), Forssk. 162 (C). Schweinf. 1896; Freitag in Flora 183: 156, 1989.
In Pakistan, S. fruticosa is the most common and ecologically most adaptable species of the genus. It covers vast stretches of salty alluvial flats with clayey or sandy soils subjected to episodic waterlogging, on drier sites and coastal belts; Distribution: From the Cape Verde and Canary Islands through N Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Jordan, Iraq, S and C Iran , Baluchistan, southern- and easternmost Afghanistan to the Indus and upper Ganges plains, along coastal India at least up to Madras, southwards down to Kenya and Ceylon.
Saharo-Sindian element extending into the southern Irano-Turanian.
The species is extremely polymorphic. Greatest variability is apparent in growth form (prostrate, erect, climbing), shape and size of leaves (linear and almost needle-like, short and broadly cylindric, oblong to almost circular) length of internodes (1-8 mm), diameter and orientation of inflorescence axes (delicate to very robust, straight to zigzag), and number of flowers in the axillary clusters (3,5 etc. up to more than 30).
Fodder for camels; commercial use of its ash for extracting soda (sajji, sajismati) which is locally used in place of soap (Sind).