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Salsola kali

Salsola kali (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Caryophyllales

Familia: Amaranthaceae s.l.
Cladus: Chenopodiaceae s.str.
Subfamilia: Salsoloideae
Tribus: Salsoleae
Genus: Salsola
Species: Salsola kali

Salsola kali L., Sp. Pl. 1: 222. (1753)

Type: "Habitat in Europae litoribus maris." Lectotype (designated by Rilke 1999: 141.): Herb. Burser XVI(2): 24, right specimen. UPS.
Epitype (designated by Rilke 1999: 141.): Herb. Clifford: 86, Salsola 2. BM.
typ. cons. for genus Salsola L. (Wilson 2017)


Salsola kali L. subsp. kali, (autonym)
Salsola decumbens Lam., Fl. Franc. 3: 241. (1778), nom. illeg., nom. superfl.
Salsola acicularis Salisb., Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton: 153. (1796), nom. illeg., nom. superfl.
Salsola kali var. vulgaris W.D.J.Koch, Syn. Fl. Germ. Helv. ed. 2: 713. (1844), nom. illeg., nom. superfl.
Salsola kali subvar. hirsuta Briq., Prodr. Fl. Corse 1: 469. (1910), nom. illeg., nom. superfl.
Kali soda Moench, Methodus (Moench) 331. (1794), nom. illeg. (later homonym of Kali soda Scop. 1771)
Salsola turgida Dumort., Fl. Belg. (Dumortier) 23. (1827)
Type: in arenosis marit. Holl., pres Harlem a Zandvoort. Holotype: BR.
Kali turgidum (Dumort.) Guterm., Phyton (Horn) 51(1): 98. (2011), as 'turgida'
intraspecific (ref. Rilke 1999)
Salsola kali var. polysarca G.Mey., Hannöv. Magaz. 23: 177. (1824)
Salsola kali subsp. polysarca (G.Mey.) G.Mey., Chloris. Han.: 470. (1836)
Salsola kali var. brevifolia Dumort., Fl. Belg.: 23. (1827), nom. nud.
Salsola kali var. longifolia Dumort., Fl. Belg.: 23. (1827), nom. nud.
Salsola kali var. glabra Dethard., Consp. PI. Megalopol.: 25. (1828)
described from the coast of Mecklenburg.
Salsola kali var. crassifolia Rchb., Fl. Germ. Excurs.: 583. (1832)
Salsola kali f. crassifolia (Rchb.) Beck, Icon. Fl. Germ. Helv. 24: 171. (1909)
Salsola kali var. crassifolia Fenzl in Ledeb. Fl. Ross. 3: 798. (1851), nom. illeg.
Salsola kali f. simplex Baen. in Sched., Danzig (1872)
Salsola kali var. simplex (Baen.) Beg., Atti Accad. Sei. Veneto-Trentino-Istriana. Padua 3,4: 126. (1913)
Salsola kali var. baltica Zapal., Consp. Fl. Gallic. crit. 2: 179. (1907)
described from Krolewca [Königsberg] and Rygi [Riga].
Salsola kali subvar. glabra Briq., Prodr. Fl. Corse 1: 469. (1910)
Salsola kali var. australis Beg., Atti Accad. Sei. Veneto-Trentino-Istriana. Padua 3,4: 126. (1913)
Salsola kali var. glabrescens Beg., Atti Accad. Sei. Veneto-Trentino-Istriana. Padua 3,4: 126. (1913)
Salsola gmelinii var. decumbens Arenes, Monde PI. 210: 43. (1934)

Native distribution areas:

strictrly coastal: Baltic Sea, North Sea, Atlantic Ocean

Northern Europe
Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden
Middle Europe
Germany, Netherlands, Poland
Southwestern Europe
France, Spain, Portugal
Southeastern Europe
(Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, see Salsola squarrosa)
Eastern Europe
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, European Russia

Replaced by Salsola tragus at dry inland places, and by Salsola squarrosa in the Mediterranean (Mosyakin, 2017).

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Gutermann, W. 2011. Notulae nomenclaturales 41–45. Neue Namen bei Cruciata und Kali sowie einige kleinere Korrekturen. Phyton, Annales Rei Botanicae, Horn 51(1): 95–102. Reference page.
Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 222. Reference page.
Moench, C. 1794. Methodus Plantas Horti Botanici et Agri Marburgensis. 780 pp., Marburgi Cattorum: Nova Libraria Academiae. BHL Reference page. : 331
Dumortier, B.C.J. 1827. Florula Belgica, opera majoris prodromus. 172 pp., Casterman, Tornacum Nerviorum. MDZ Reference page. : 23.
Wilson, K.L. 2017. Report of the General Committee: 20. Taxon 66(4): 981. DOI: 10.12705/664.15 Reference page.

Additional references

Akhani, H., Edwards, G. & Roalson, E.H. 2007. Diversification of the Old World Salsoleae s.l. (Chenopodiaceae): Molecular Phylogenetic Analysis of Nuclear and Chloroplast Data Sets and a Revised Classification. International Journal of Plant Sciences 168(6): 931–956. DOI: 10.1086/518263 ResearchGate Reference page. : 946.
Mosyakin, S.L., Freitag, H. & Rilke, S. 2017. Kali versus Salsola: the instructive story of a questionable nomenclatural resurrection. Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 64: 18–30. DOI: 10.1080/07929978.2016.1256135 Reference page.
Mosyakin, S.L. 2017. Taxonomic and nomenclatural notes on Pontic-Mediterranean coastal and some Australasian taxa of Salsola (Chenopodiaceae). Ukrayins'kyi Botanicnyi Zhurnal 74(6): 521–531. DOI: 10.15407/ukrbotj74.06.521 PDFReference page.
Rilke, S. 1999. Revision der Sektion Salsola s.l. der Gattung Salsola (Chenopodiaceae). Bibliotheca Botanica 149. Schweizerbart, Stuttgart, 189 pp. ISBN 978-3510480203. Reference page. : 141–148
The Linnaean Plant Name Typification Project 2015. Salsola kali L.


Hassler, M. 2019. Kali turgida. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2019. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2019 Apr. 11. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Salsola kali. Published online. Accessed: Apr. 11 2019.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Salsola kali in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2019 Apr. 11. Reference page. 2019. Salsola kali. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 11 Apr. 2019.

Vernacular names
Afrikaans: Tolbos
brezhoneg: Bugelenn-mor
català: Barrella punxosa
dansk: Almindelig Sodaurt
Deutsch: Kali-Salzkraut
English: Prickly Saltwort
español: Barrilla borde
suomi: Meriotakilokki
français: Soude brûlée
hornjoserbsce: Kalijowy selenc
lietuvių: Smiltyninė druskė
Nederlands: Stekend loogkruid
Diné bizaad: Chʼil awoshí
polski: Solanka kolczysta
svenska: Sodaört

Kali turgidum[1][2] (synonym Salsola kali subsp. kali), commonly known as prickly saltwort[3] or prickly glasswort, is an annual plant that grows in salty sandy coastal soils.[4]

Its distributional range is in Europe along the shores of Baltic Sea, North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.[4] In the Mediterranean and at dry inland places it is replaced by Kali tragus (syn. Salsola tragus or Salsola kali subsp. tragus), which is less tolerant to salty soils, and has spread from Eurasia to other continents.[4] Kali turgidum does not seem to occur as an introduced species in America.[4]


The species was first described in 1753 as Salsola kali by Carl Linnaeus in Species Plantarum. Until 2007, it belonged to genus Salsola (sensu lato), but after molecular genetical research, this genus was split, and the species was placed into genus Kali Mill. (Syn.: Salsola sect. Kali Dum.).[5] In genus Kali, the valid name is Kali turgidum (Dumort.) Guterm. (incorrectly as "turgida", Basionym: Salsola turgida Dumort., Fl. Belgica 23, 1827).[2] The name Kali soda Moench used by Akhani et al. (2007) is invalid because of the older name Kali soda Scop. (a synonym of Salsola soda).[1]

Kali turgidum belongs to tribe Salsoleae s. str.[5] Kali turgidum, Kali tragus, and other closely related species form a species complex (Kali tragus-aggregate or formerly Salsola kali-aggregate).[6] Some authors treat these species only on subspecies level. Then Kali tragus would be the valid name for the whole species complex, and Kali turgidum would be a subspecies of it.[1]

In 2014, Mosyakin et al. proposed to conserve Salsola kali (= Kali turgidum) as nomenclatoral type for the genus Salsola. If the proposal will be accepted, all species of genus Kali would belong to Salsola again.[7]
Alkali and soda ash

The plant is a halophyte, i.e. it grows where the water is salty, and the plant is a succulent, i.e. it holds much salty water. When the plant is burned, the sodium in the salt ends up in the chemical sodium carbonate. Sodium carbonate has a number of practical uses, including especially as an ingredient in making glass, and making soap. In the medieval and early modern centuries the Kali plant and others like it were collected at tidal marshes and seashores. The collected plants were burned. The resulting ashes were mixed with water. Sodium carbonate is soluble in water. Non-soluble components of the ashes sunk to the bottom of the water container. The water with the sodium carbonate dissolved in it was then transferred to another container, and then the water was evaporated off, leaving behind the sodium carbonate. Another major component of the ashes that is soluble in water is potassium carbonate. The resulting product consisted mainly of a mixture of sodium carbonate and potassium carbonate. This product was called "soda ash" (was also called "alkali"). Soda ash extracted from the ashes of Kali turgidum/Kali tragus contains as much as 30% sodium carbonate. The soda ash was used primarily to make glass (secondly used as a cleaning agent). Another notable halophilic plant that was collected for the purpose was Salsola soda. Another was Halogeton sativus. Historically in the late medieval and early post-medieval centuries the word "Kali" could refer to any such plants. (The words "alkali" and "kali" come from the Arabic word for soda ash, al-qali). Today such plants are also called saltworts, referring to their relatively high salt content. Because of their use historically in making glass, they are also called glassworts. In Spain the saltwort plants were called barilla and were the basis of a large industry in Spain in the 18th century; see barilla. In the early 19th century, plant sources were supplanted by synthetic sodium carbonate produced using the Leblanc process.
See also

Prickly Russian thistle
Russian globe thistle


Walter Gutermann: Notulae nomenclaturales 41–45. Neue Namen bei Cruciata und Kali sowie einige kleinere Korrekturen. In: Phyton (Horn). 51 (1), 2011, p. 98.
Kali turgidum, International Plant Names Index, (epitheton in neutrum), accessed 15. January 2016.
BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
Sabrina Rilke: Revision der Sektion Salsola s.l. der Gattung Salsola (Chenopodiaceae). In: Bibliotheca Botanica. Vol. 149, 1999, ISBN 978-3-510-48020-3 (Summary online).
Hossein Akhani, Gerald Edwards, Eric H. Roalson: Diversification Of The Old World Salsoleae s.l. (Chenopodiaceae): Molecular Phylogenetic Analysis Of Nuclear And Chloroplast Data Sets And A Revised Classification In: International Journal of Plant Sciences, 168(6), 2007: 931–956.
Uotila, P. (2011): Chenopodiaceae (pro parte majore). – In: Euro+Med Plantbase - the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity. - Salsola kali
Mosyakin, Sergei L.; Rilke, Sabrina; Freitag, Helmut (2014). "(2323) Proposal to conserve the name Salsola (Chenopodiaceae s.str.; Amaranthaceae sensu APG) with a conserved type". Taxon. 63 (5): 1134–1135. doi:10.12705/635.15.

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