• Double O Arch

    Arches

    National Park Utah

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Extreme Fire Danger

    Due to extremely dry conditions, fire restrictions are in effect in all national park units in Southeast Utah. More »

Spiny Hopsage (Hopsage)

Grayia spinosa

Grayia spinosa

Family: Chenopodiaceae – Goosefoot Family

Woody shrubs; 1.6' to 4.9' (5 to 15 dm) tall; branches more less thorny

Leaves: alternate; simple; grey or bluish; entire; has hairs; 0.2” to 1.2” (5 to 30 mm) long or more, 0.08” to 0.48” (2 to 12 mm) wide

Flowers: 0 petals; 4 or 5 lobed sepals; 1 pistil; 2 stigmas; 4 stamens; greenish, inconspicuous; dioecious, or less commonly monoecious; unisexual; imperfect; male (staminate) flowers with usually 4 lobed sepals, 0.06” to 0.08” (1.5 to 2 mm) long; 4 stamens, 2 to 5 flowers in clusters; female (pistillate) flowers 1 to several per bract

Pollinators: other genera in this family are pollinated by wind

Fruits: utricles – small 1 seeded fruit with a thin wall; large number of seeds that persist

Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May

Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities; characteristically grows on halophytic (salty) soils

Location seen: Sand Dune Arch trail, Eye of the Whale Arch

Other: The genus name, "Grayia" honors Asa Gray (1810-1888), a distinguished American botanist and professor at Harvard University. The species name, “spinosa”, is from Latin for "thorny".

Plants in this family are generally weedy, but beets and spinach are members of this family. The family is called the goosefoot family because the leaf shape may look like a goose's foot.

Did You Know?

Detail of petroglyph panel

Native Americans never inhabited Arches on a year-round basis, though they certainly roamed the area searching for wild game, useful plants and rocks for tool-making. Petroglyphs near Wolfe Ranch are thought to have been created by Indians from the Ute/Paiute cultures. More...