Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Grayia spinosa
spiny hopsage

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in Washington; Washington to California, east to Wyoming and Colorado.

Habitat: Foothills and desert valleys, often in alkaline soil.

Flowers: April-June

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Wind


Freely-branched, rounded, grayish-barked, dioecious shrub up to 1.5 m. tall, often with spiny twigs, the younger leaves and branches pubescent.


Leaves alternate, oblanceolate, 1-2.5 cm. long, entire, gradually narrowed to a short petiole.


Staminate flowers 2-5 per cluster in the axil of a single bract, the bracts reduced upward, the perianth 4-lobed, exceeding the 4 stamens and enclosing them, 1.5-2 mm. long; pistillate flowers in small clusters in the axils of bracts, each with a pair of fused bracteoles elliptic in outline with a stipe-like base; style 2-lobed, protruding from the bracteoles.


Bracteoles ultimately become greatly enlarged, 8-15 mm. broad, enclosing the fruit, strongly compressed, wing-margined, whitish to red.

Accepted Name:
Grayia spinosa (Hook.) Moq.
Publication: Prodr. 13(2): 119. 1849.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Atriplex spinosa (Hook.) Collotzi [HC]
Chenopodium spinosum Hook.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Grayia spinosa in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Grayia spinosa checklist entry

OregonFlora: Grayia spinosa information

E-Flora BC: Grayia spinosa atlas page

CalPhotos: Grayia spinosa photos

55 photographs:
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