Winterfat (White-sage; Eurotia; Ceratoides)
Synonyms: Ceratoides lanata; Eurotia lanata
Family: Chenopodiaceae – Goosefoot Family
Woody shrubs; 0.79” to 2.6' (0.2 to 8 dm) tall or more above ground
Leaves: alternate; simple; entire; 0.4” to 1.8” (1 to 4.5 cm) long, 0.04” to 0.26” (1 to 6.5 mm) wide; leaves and branchlets covered with dense long hairs. The narrow leaves remain on the plant during winter and are shed when new leaves grow in the spring or when the plant is water-stressed.
Flowers: 0 petals; 4 lobed sepals; 4 stamens; 1 pistil, 1 to 3 stigmas; 2 styles; small and inconspicuous, small, greenish; male (staminate) flowers and female (pistillate) flowers on the same plant; 2 to 4 pistillate flowers per axil, pistillate flowers lacking a perianth; staminate flowers in axillary clusters
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; fruits covered with long white hairs
Blooms in Arches National Park: May, June
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities; characteristically grows on halophytic (salty) soils
Location seen: Windows primitive trail, near Sand Dune Arch
Other: The genus name, “Krascheninnikovia”, honors Stephan Petrovich Krascheninnikov (1713-1755), a Russian botanist and professor of Natural History. Krascheninnikov accompanied the Danish explorer Vitus Jonassen Bering on his Great Northern Expedition to explore easternmost Siberia (1733-1743), one of the largest scientific ventures the world has ever known. The genus name, “Ceratoides”, is from the Greek “ keras ” which means “a horn”. The genus name, “Eurotia”, is from the Greek “euros”, "mold" because of the hairy covering.
The species name, “lanata”, means “wool-like” referring to the hairy branches, leaves and fruit.
This plant is a valuable winter browse plant for wildlife and livestock.
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?
Pinyon trees do not produce pine nuts every year. These delicious nuts can only be harvested every three to seven years. This irregular schedule prevents animals from adapting to an abundance of pine nuts and guarantees that at least some nuts will become new trees instead of a quick meal.