Greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus)
Family: Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot Family)
Description: may grow up to 8 ft tall, but generally reaches heights of no more than 4 ft in this area. Plant has overall scraggly, densely-branched, spiny appearance. Fleshy, narrow leaves have a nearly circular cross-section and may be salty to taste.
Range: occurs throughout the western United States from California to Kansas. At Colorado National Monument, it grows best in salty soils.
Did you know: like the four-wing saltbush, greasewood thrives in soils with high salt concentrations. To survive in such soils, this plant has developed a deeply penetrating root system that can reach up to 57 feet! This allows greasewood to access water far below the parched ground surface.
Did You Know?
Each Independence Day, local climbers scale the iconic Independence Monument in Colorado National Monument and raise an American flag on top. This tradition dates back to early park promoter John Otto, whose route up Independence Monument climbers still follow.