Cycloma atriplicifolia (Spreng.) Coult. - Winged Pigweed
Family - Chenopodiaceae
Stems - From a big taproot, erect, herbaceous but stout, much-branched, terete to ribbed, green, glabrescent but minutely villous, to +/-60cm tall.
Leaves - Alternate, sessile. Blade tapering to the base, with 3-4 coarse teeth per margin, acute, glabrous or with very few hairs, to +4cm long, 1cm broad, linear-oblong, green, lighter underneath.
Inflorescence - Open, loose spikes terminating each stem and branch. Flowers sessile, the lowest subtended by a greatly reduced foliaceous bract. Flowers compact at first but quickly expanding in fruit.
Flowers - Minute, green. Sepals green, convergent, keeled, 5, to 1mm long in flower, longer in fruit, dark green, mostly glabrous, subtended by white lanose hairs. Stigmas 3, erect, white, .7-1mm long. Ovary green, superior, globose, glabrous but surrounded by lanose hairs, .3-.7mm broad in flower, quickly expanding in fruit and becoming disk-shaped. Fruit winged, to 4mm broad. Wing white, +/-1mm broad, erose-margined. Seed dark purple, broadly conic, hard, 2mm broad.
Flowering - June - October.
Habitat - Sand bars, gravel bars, sandy fields, railroads, sandy roadsides.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - This interesting species can be found throughout Missouri along the major waterways and in sandy areas. The plant is simple to identify becasue of its round, winged fruits and choice of habitat.
Photographs taken along the shores of the Current River, Shannon County, MO., 7-6-04.