Salsola imbricata Forssk., Fl. Aegypt.-Arab. 57 1775. (Syn: Caroxylon foetidum Moq.; Caroxylon imbricatum (Forssk.) Akhani & Roalson; Chenopodium baryosmum Schult.; Salsola baryosma (Schult.) Dandy; Salsola foetida Delile ex Spreng. [Illegitimate]; Salsola foetida var. glabrescens Maire; Salsola foetida var. scopiformis (Maire) Maire; Salsola imbricata var. imbricata ; Salsola vermiculata var. scopiformis Maire (unresolved));
S. imbricata is a small, spreading shrub or sub-shrub growing up to 1.2 m (4 ft) tall. The grey or reddish stems are up to 2 cm (0.8 in) thick and these and the lower leaves are densely hairy. In the upper parts of the plant the stems are creamy or pale grey and branch frequently, some branches growing vertically while others spread horizontally. Regularly-arranged, catkin-like branchlets project from the branches. The leaves are tiny, succulent and linear or narrowly triangular. The inflorescence is spike-like with bracts similar to the leaves, small flowers with 5 petals, 5 stamens and 2 styles. The fruiting perianth has silky wings.
This plant has a widespread distribution across the desert belt of Saharan Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, southern Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and northwestern India. It typically grows in disturbed areas such as runnels, washes, dry wadis, eroded slopes and coastal cliffs. It grows on various soil types and is a ruderal species, colonising fallow land and over-grazed pastures.
S. imbricata is a halophytic plant; under conditions of salt stress, the plant increases its water content (becomes more succulent) and decreases the surface area of its leaves. Tests on the germination rates of seeds show that Salsola imbricata sprouts more quickly and consistently at 20°C than at higher temperatures, and shows higher germination rates at lower salinity levels than high ones. However, seeds treated at high salinity levels recovered their germination potential after immerssion in unsalted water.
The species has traditionally been used as a vermifuge and for treating certain skin disorders. Five triterpene glycosides have been isolated from the roots of Salsola imbricata, two of them being new glycoside derivatives not previously known.
(From Wikipedia on 18.1.16)