Greenmolly, courtesy of Dr. Roger Banner, USU Extension

Photo courtesy of Dr. Roger Banner, USU Extension

Common Name(s):

Green Molly
Desert Molly
Greenmolly Summercypress
Red sage
Gray Molly

Scientific Name:

Bassia americana (S. Watson) A.J. Scott

Scientific Name Synonyms:

Kochia americana S. Wats.




Life Span: Perennial

Origin: Native

Season: Deciduous

Growth Characteristics: A 4 to 16 inch subshrub, woody and much branched at the base, simple and herbaceous above. Stems are grayish-white. Flowers in late summer, reproduces from seeds.

Flowers/Inflorescence: Flowers are small, without stalks, extremely hairy and white.

Fruits/Seeds:Fruit is a utricle.

Leaves: Alternate or opposite, often occurring in fascicles (similar to a pine tree). The blades are narrow, fleshy, and about ½ inch long. Surfaces are dark green and covered with long silky hairs.

Stems: Grayish and hairy.

Ecological Adaptations:

Occurs in desert valleys, flats, marshes, roadsides, and foothills of the cold desert region. New growth, especially the leaves, often dries to a black color.

Soils: Saline, sandy clay loams.

Associated Species: Saltbush, shadscale, black sagebrush, Indian ricegrass, saltgrass.

Uses and Management:

Greenmolly provides excellent forage for sheep, cattle, and deer. It is often used as winter forage for sheep. It is high in protein during the fall. There is some evidence that it may accumulate nitrates.