Salsola kali - L.
Common Name Saltwort, Russian thistle
Family Chenopodiaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards The plant contains up to 5% oxalic acid, so it should only be used in moderation[269]. Oxalic acid can lock up certain of the nutrients in food and, if eaten in excess, can lead to nutritional deficiencies. It is, however, perfectly safe in small amounts and its acid taste adds a nice flavour to salads. Cooking the plant will reduce the quantity of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[238].
Habitats Non-saline sandy beaches, avoiding acid soils. It is usually found on dry soils[17, 50].
Range Coastal Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa, Asia and N. America
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

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Salsola kali Saltwort, Russian thistle
Salsola kali Saltwort, Russian thistle
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Salsola kali is a ANNUAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft). It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.


 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Young leaves and stems - raw or cooked[46, 61, 62, 105]. An excellent food[85] with a crunchy tender texture[206]. The leaves can be used as a spinach substitute or added in small quantities to salads[9]. Seed - cooked. It can be ground into a meal and used as a gruel, thickener in soups etc or added to cereal flours when making bread etc[85]. The seed is small and hard to collect any quantity[85].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Cathartic;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Stimulant;  Vermifuge.

The juice of the fresh plant is an excellent diuretic[4]. The seedpods can also be used[4]. Salsolin, one of the constituents of the plant, has been used to regulate the blood pressure. It is said to resemble papaverine in its effect on vasoconstriction and hydrastine in its effect on the smooth muscles of the uterus[269]. Reported to be cathartic, diuretic, emmenagogue, stimulant, and vermifuge, the plant is a folk remedy for dropsy and excrescences[269].


Other Uses
Biomass;  Cleanser;  Potash.

The ashes of the burnt plant are used for making glass and soap[100]. At one time large quantities of the ashes were imported into Britain for this purpose, but nowadays a chemical process using salt is employed[4]. The ashes can also be used as a cleaner for fabrics[169]. As a low-water-use plant, germinating quickly on minimally disturbed soils, and relatively free of diseases and parasites, this has been suggested as a fuel source for arid lands[269]. Yields of around 3 tonnes per hectare of plant material have been achieved[269].
Cultivation details
Requires a very sunny position in a light or medium well-drained soil. Tolerates maritime exposure. The plant is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 26 to 97cm, an annual temperature in the range of 9.2 to 23.8°C and a pH of 7.0 to 7.9[269]. This species was seen growing in a sunny bed at Cambridge Botanical Gardens in 1987, we have also grown it on a number of occasions[K]. This species is listed as a serious weed in many countries of the world[269].
Seed - sow spring in situ. The seed has a short viability and should be stored cool over the winter[206].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Salsola collinaTumbleweed. Slender Russian Thistle11
Salsola komarovii 10
Salsola sodaBarilla Plant. Oppositeleaf Russian Thistle10
Salsola tragusPrickly Russian Thistle21


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Subject : Salsola kali  

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