Halogeton glomeratus (halogeton)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Threatened Species
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Halogeton glomeratus (M.Bieb.) Ledeb.
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Anabasis glomerata M.Bieb.
- Halogeton glomeratus var. glomeratus
International Common Names
- English: saltlover
- Spanish: aral barilla; barilla
- Chinese: yan sheng cao
- HALGL (Halogeton glomeratus)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
H. glomeratus is a succulent annual herbaceous plant that is naturally distributed in arid and desert regions from northwest China and Mongolia to Central Asia and southeastern Russia. It was accidentally introduced into the USA in the early 1930s and has since spread dramatically. Although a weak competitor in perennial communities, H. glomeratus quickly invades disturbed or overgrazed lands where it is adapted. H. glomeratus is a halophyte and is instrumental in moving salts to the soil surface. It is one of the few species that can tolerate the accumulation of salts and sodium moved from the lower soil horizons to the surface during cultivation. This species is toxic to ruminants and has caused heavy losses of sheep in Idaho, Nevada and Utah. The accumulation of salt on the soil surface can prevent the establishment and persistence of native plant species. This species is known to impact on two critically endangered cacti, Sclerocatus brevispinus and S. wetlandicus and Astragalus anserinus, a candidate species under the Endangered Species Act.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Caryophyllales
- Family: Chenopodiaceae
- Genus: Halogeton
- Species: Halogeton glomeratus
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
H. glomeratus is a member of the Amaranthaceae family (ITIS, 2015). It was originally attributed to the Chenopodiaceae family (the goosefoot family) however, based on genetic evidence taxonomists reclassified it, along with many genera from the Chenopodiaceae family, as separate subfamilies within the Amaranthaceae (Elpel, 2015).
DescriptionTop of page
H. glomeratus grows from 0.1 to 0.5 (1) m tall depending on the moisture available during the growing season (USDA-ARS, 2015). The plant has small, round, fleshy weiner-shaped leaves that grow in clusters along reddish or purplish stems. The basal curvature of each branch is characteristic (Poisonous Plants, 2015). Each plant generally has five main stems that come directly from the base of the plant. Young plants have round, fleshy leaves that grow in little bunches along the stem. It has a characteristic small hair about 1 mm long on the end of each leaf (USDA-ARS, 2015). During drought the stems develop a reddish tinge.
Plant TypeTop of page
DistributionTop of page
H. glomeratus is native to northwestern China and from Mongolia to Central Asia and southeastern Russia. It was introduced into the USA where it is found in a number of states and is present in the Rocky Mountain, Great Basin and Northern Plains regions (USDA-FS, 2015).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|China||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|Russia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Southern Russia||Present||Native||Gorno-Altay, Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, Tuva|
|United States||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Montana||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Original citation: USDA Forest Service (USDA-FS) (2015)|
|-Nebraska||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Original citation: USDA Forest Service (USDA-FS) (2015)|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
H. glomeratus was first collected in Wells, Nevada in 1934 (Cook and Stoddart, 1953) and subsequently throughout Nevada and other Intermountain West and Great Basin states (Welsh et al., 2003; USDA-NRCS, 2015). It is unclear exactly how this weed was introduced into the USA but it is thought to have been introduced as a seed contaminant. Within 40 years of its introduction H. glomeratus had infested 11.2 million acres of land throughout the intermountain West and Colorado Plateau (James et al., 2005; Rood et al., 2014).
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
H. glomeratus is a fast growing species, which produces a large number of seed. These are naturally dispersed by wind and water but may also be ingested by sheep and rabbits and dispersed locally into new areas. The brown seeds can persist in the soil for at least 10 years and risk being introduced into new areas if soil is moved.
HabitatTop of page
In North America, H. glomeratus typically occurs in disturbed sites in salt-desert shrubland surrounding big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and in transition zones from shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia) to big sagebrush (Cronin and Williams, 1965; USDA-FS, 2015). Overgrazed sites, abandoned farmlands, highway and railroad right-of ways and trails made by domestic animals also provide suitable habitats (Cronin and Williams, 1965; USDA-NRCS, 2015).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Industrial / intensive livestock production systems||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Disturbed areas||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Disturbed areas||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Rail / roadsides||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Urban / peri-urban areas||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Scrub / shrublands||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Deserts||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Arid regions||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Arid regions||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Littoral||Salt marshes||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
H. glomeratus is a prolific seed producer, with about 30 seeds produced per cm of stem and as many as 25,000 seeds per large plant (Tisdale and Zappetini, 1953). The plant produces two types of seeds: black and brown seeds. The latter constitutes about one-third of the total production (Cronin and Williams, 1965). It flowers from June to August and seeds are produced from July through to October.
Physiology and Phenology
H. glomeratus possesses numerous qualities that have made it possible to establish in the cold desert. Its anatomical structure permits very little water loss through its aerial parts and where the lack of water limits or prevents the growth of most plants, H. glomeratus thrives. It germinates, grows and prospers on soil too saline for any other desert plant (Cronin and Williams, 1965).
The black seeds germinate readily whenever sufficient moisture and heat are available. A few will germinate as soon as they are free from the bracts but a greater percentage will germinate following a short ripening period. Black seeds are viable for about one year in the field. The prolific production of black seed provides a means of rapid spread of the plant once it invades a suitable site. Production of black seed occurs from about the middle of August until growth stops and the plant dries in late September. Plants which become established after August produce black seed exclusively (Cronin and Williams, 1965). Brown seeds are produced from about July until mid-August, but both brown and black mature in late September. Brown seeds are viable but dormant at dispersal. Only a small percentage of these seeds germinate each year and they can persist in the soil for at least ten years (Cronin and Williams, 1965; Whitson 1987). Brown seeds provide a means of species survival during long periods of severe drought. This longevity profoundly affects management and control programs. These brown seeds assure persistence on any site where it has produced a seed crop.
H. glomeratus is a fast growing annual plant.
H. glomeratus is toxic if consumed by ruminants. The toxicity mechanisms of H. glomeratus is found in soluble oxalates, sodium oxalate and potassium oxalate, which are contained in leaves and other above-ground parts (Rood et al., 2014; USDA-ARS, 2015). Calcium oxalate monohydrate damages mitochondria, increases reactive oxygen species and decreases tricarboxylic acid enzymes, resulting in mitochondrial dysplasia and reduced oxidative phosphorylation (Chungang and McMartin 2005; Rood et al., 2014). The concentration of oxalates varies by season, locality and part of the plant (USDA-FS, 2015) however it is dangerous at all times. It becomes more toxic as the growing season advances, reaching a peak of toxicity at maturity. Losses occur from dried plant consumed during the fall, winter and early spring.
H. glomeratus is found in the rangelands of the western USA and thrives on arid alkaline soils and clays (Poisonous Plants, 2015). It also occurs on clays to clay loams to loamy sands at elevations from 700 to 2,000 m (USDA-NRCS, 2015). Although it can occur on many soil types, invaded sites are usually saline with a basic pH (pH >7). Not only does it tolerate high salt concentrations, but it grows best when the sodium chloride concentration is at least 5800 ppm. Increased salt concentration does not, as with other plants, increase its water requirements (Cronin and Williams, 1965). It is best adapted to sites receiving less than 30 cm of average annual precipitation. This plant is only weakly competitive, but it quickly invades disturbed or overgrazed lands (Eckert, 1954; Blaisdell and Holmgren, 1984; The Great Basin and Invasive Weeds, 2015).
ClimateTop of page
|B - Dry (arid and semi-arid)||Preferred||< 860mm precipitation annually|
|BS - Steppe climate||Tolerated||> 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation|
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Tolerated||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter||Tolerated||Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)|
|Dw - Continental climate with dry winter||Tolerated||Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)|
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Special soil tolerances
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Two species of moth Coleophora porthenica and C. atriplicivora have been identified as natural enemies of H. glomeratus (Pemberton, 1986; USDA-FS, 2015).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Both seed types are dispersed naturally by the wind and in water (Tilley et al., 2015).
Seeds of H. glomeratus remain viable after being consumed by both sheep and rabbits and are dispersed locally by these animals (Tilley et al., 2015).
It is thought that this species was accidentally introduced into the USA as contaminant of seeds. Other human activities such as road grading may accidentally disperse seeds of H. glomeratus.
Pathway CausesTop of page
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
H. glomeratus is invasive in southwestern USA and has large economic impact due to its negative effect on all classes of grazing animals, particularly sheep. This has an economic impact with regards to the loss of the livestock but also indirectly on range acreage as a result of infestations. It can also have an impact as a potential seed contaminant (USDA-GRIN, 2015).
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact on Habitats
H. glomeratus has an impact on habitats by altering soil nutrient levels. Salt from the soil accumulates in plant tissues and is also leached from the roots back onto the soil surface increasing salinity, pH and electrical conductivity (Eckert and Kinsinger, 1960). Secondary effects associated with these chemical changes include changes in soil physical properties such as increased crust strength and decreased moisture infiltration rate. Inferences about altered microbiotic interactions in the rhizosphere have been used to suggest a mechanism for invasion in established communities and to explain the failure of native perennials to re-occupy invades sites (Harper et al., 1996; Duda et al., 2003; USDA-NRCS, 2015).
Impact on Biodiversity
H. glomeratus reduces biodiversity by conversion of salt-desert shrublands to near weed monocultures. In addition, it has specifically been found to have an effect on the plant Astragalus anserinus when it occurs at or immediately adjacent to the population (USFWS, 2013). This species is list as a candidate species under the Endangered Species Act. Furthermore in the USA, H. glomeratus can also have a negative influence on the growth of two critically endangered species of cactus, Sclerocactus brevispinus and S. wetlandicus (Utah Ecological Services Field Office, 2010). This species therefore has a negative impact on biodiversity.
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Astragalus anserinus (Goose Creek milkvetch)||NatureServe; USA ESA candidate species||USA||US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) (2013)|
|Sclerocactus brevispinus||CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as threatened species||USA||Utah Ecological Services Field Office (2010)|
|Sclerocactus wetlandicus||USA ESA listing as threatened species||USA||Utah Ecological Services Field Office (2010)|
Social ImpactTop of page
The plant is highly toxic to all classes of grazing animals and in particular to sheep and cattle (USDA-NRCS, 2015). If desirable vegetation is available H. glomeratus will be avoided. One sheep can be killed by 0.3-0.5 kg of H. glomeratus with no treatments available once the animal is poisoned. Heavy sheep losses through poisoning have occurred in Idaho, Nevada and Utah (The Great Basin and Invasive Weeds, 2015). For example, a public case in Idaho involved the death of nearly 1,300 sheep. In 1952, federal funds were allocated for eradication and control of this species with the passage of a Halogeton Control Bill (Young, 1988; Rood et al., 2014). Research has shown that sheep can adapt to H. glomeratus if they are fed gradually increasing amounts. Adapted sheep can detoxify 75 % more oxalate than non-adapted sheep (Krueger and Sharp, 1978). Ruminants adapted to oxalate-containing plants such as H. glomeratus can tolerate concentrations that are lethal to non-adapted animals (Cheeke, 1998).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Pioneering in disturbed areas
- Tolerant of shade
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Modification of successional patterns
- Negatively impacts animal health
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Threat to/ loss of endangered species
- Competition (unspecified)
- Rapid growth
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page
H. glomeratus is a halophyte and a widely studied plant for its capacity to tolerate salinity stress (Zhu, 2002; Flowers and Colmer, 2008; Wang et al., 2015). Salinity stress is one of the most serious factors that severely affect crop growth, development and yield. Research on RNA transcript profiling was carried out on H. glomeratus, which identified 118 salt-induced genes and 291 upregulated unigenes that are involved in ion transport, ROS scavenging, energy metabolism, hormone response pathways and response to biotic and abiotic stress in the response of this species to salt stress (Wang et al., 2015).
Uses ListTop of page
- Research model
- Poisonous to mammals
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
It has been suggested that H. glomeratus resembles immature Salsola tragus and Bassiascoparia. However, the leaves of S. tragus lack hairs along the axils and are linear and those of B. scoparia are pubescent and lack a stiff bristle at the tip (CDFA, 2015).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Cultural Control and Sanitary Measures
Early detection of H. glomeratus is required to prevent major infestations establishing (USDA-NRCS, 2015). Management practices such as proper grazing management, reseeding with perennial forage plants and prevention to soil disturbance should all help avoid invasion by this species (Cronin and Williams, 1965). Introduced perennials such as Bassia prostrata have shown to decrease the density of H. glomeratus (McArthur et al., 1990; Stevens and McArthur, 1990; USDA-FS, 2015). In addition, Agropyron cristatum and A. desertorum was seeded extensively in depleted winter rangeland to slow growth of H. glomeratus (Major and Pyott, 1966; Young, 1988; Young et al., 1999; USDA-FS, 2015). Research showed that heavy infestations by H. glomeratus were essentially eliminated after two years by seeding with the hybrid A. desertorum cv. Hycrest (Asay and Johnson, 1987; USDA-FS, 2015). Control measures, however, must take into account the persistence of the seeds in the soil which may remain viable for 10 years (Cronin and Williams, 1965).
There are currently no biological control agents available for control of H. glomeratus. A stem-boring moth, Coleophora porthenica from Pakistan was released into North America, but failed to establish (Pemberton, 1986; USDA-FS, 2015). A case-bearing moth, C. atriplicivora has also been found on H. glomeratus, but it is not currently known what effect it has on this weed
H. glomeratus can be managed by the use of herbicides, such as an aqueous spray of 2,4-D applied during vegetative growth (Cronin and Williams, 1965). When applied in late May or early June it can kill about 97-98% of the plants but it is not selective. Such treatments deplete other vegetation resulting in further invasion by H. glomeratus (from seed in the soil) or other pioneer invaders, such as Russian thistle, Echinops exaltatus and rabbitbrush, Ericameria nauseosa. Applications of telbuthiuron, as late as August, have also been suggested to kill and prevent reinvasion of H. glomeratus for three to five years (USDA-ARS, 2015). However, this treatment becomes ineffective when plants enter reproductive growth (Cronin and Williams, 1965).
ReferencesTop of page
Asay KH; Johnson DA, 1987. Proceedings - Symposium Seed and seedbed ecology or rangeland plants., USA: USDA, Agricultural Research Service, 173-176.
Blaisdell JP; Holmgren RC, 1984. Managing intermountain rangelands - salt-desert shrub ranges. General Technical Report, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, USDA Forest Service, No. INT-163:52pp.
Chungang G; McMartin KE, 2005. The cytotoxicity of oxalate, metabolite of ethylene glycol, is due to calcium oxalate monohydrate formation. Toxicology, 208:347-352.
Cook CW; Stoddart LA, 1953. Bulletin No. 364 - the Halogeton problem in Utah. Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. UAES Bulletins Paper 322.
Cronin EH; Williams MC, 1965. Principles for managing ranges infested with halogeton. Journal of Range Management, 19:226-227.
Duda JJ; Freeman DC; Emlen JM; Belnap J; Kitchen SG; Zak JC; Sobek E; Tracy M; Montante J, 2003. Differences in native soil ecology associated with invasion of the exotic annual chenopod, Halogeton glomeratus. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 38(2):72-77.
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ContributorsTop of page
10/09/2015 Original text by:
Giovanni Cafà, CABI, UK
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