Description from Flora of China
Herbs annual, subshrubs, or shrubs, glabrous, pilose, hispid, or papillate. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite, sessile, terete or semiterete, rarely linear, base usually expanded, sometimes decurrent, apex obtuse or with an acicular awn. Flowers bisexual, solitary or glomerulate in bract axils, forming a spicate or paniculate inflorescence on upper part of branches; bracts ovate or broadly lanceolate; bractlets 2. Perianth 5-parted; segments ovate-lanceolate or oblong, adaxially concave, membranous, becoming hardened later, glabrous or pilose, with a transverse, winglike appendage near middle abaxially; distal portion of segments incurved, apices usually connivent, together embracing utricle and appearing conic; abaxial appendage spreading, membranous in fruit, sometimes undeveloped and appearing crestlike or tuberculate. Stamens 5; filaments subulate or narrowly linear, flattened; anthers oblong, apex appendaged, appendage apex acute or obtuse, variously shaped, or very small. Ovary broadly ovoid or globose, depressed; style long or very short; stigmas 2, erect or recurved, subulate or filiform, adaxially papillate. Fruit a utricle, globose; pericarp membranous or fleshy. Seed horizontal, vertical, or oblique; embryo spiral; perisperm absent.
In its traditional circumscription, Salsola s.l. is a paraphyletic or probably even polyphyletic group of taxa rather than a phylogenetically justified genus. Recent studies indicate that several widely recognized genera of Salsoleae (e.g., Girgensohnia, Halothamnus, Haloxylon, and Noaea Moquin-Tandon) as well as many proposed segregate genera (e.g., Caroxylon Thunberg, Climacoptera Botschantzev, Darniella Maire & Weiller, Hypocylix Woloszczak, Neocaspia Tzvelev, Nitrosalsola Tzvelev, and Xylosalsola Tzvelev), are probably phylogenetically rooted in Salsola sensu latissimo. However, more research is needed for justification of any dramatic taxonomic changes in that group. Because of that, Salsola is accepted here in its traditional circumscription.
About 130 species: Africa, Asia, Europe, a few species in North America; 36 species (three endemic) in China.