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(goosefoot), a family of dicotyledonous plants including grasses, subshrubs, and less commonly, shrubs or small trees. The stems are often juicy and jointed. The leaves are generally alternate and without stipules. The flowers are opaque, apetalous, bisexual or unisexual, and usually regular; they are clustered in small inflorescences, or glomerules, which are then gathered into compound inflorescences. The pistil has two or, less commonly, three to five carpels. The ovary is one-celled and usually superior (rarely, as in the beet, is it half-inferior). The fruit is generally single-seeded and dry, with the remaining perianth forming various growths that are sometimes brilliantly colored. Some species of Chenopodiaceae, such as beets and spinach, have perianth-like bracts that enclose the fruit and grow together to form aggregate fruits. The seed embryos are U-shaped (or ring-like) or spiral.
According to the shape of the embryo, two large groups, or subfamilies, are distinguished—Chenopodioideae and Salsoloideae. The family contains both monoecious and dioecious plants, which usually grow on alkaline soils in deserts, semideserts, and steppes, as well as along seashores. Many species are weeds.
There are approximately 100 genera, comprising 1,500 species, distributed primarily along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in the deserts of Asia, Africa and Australia, and on the prairies and pampas of America. Fifty genera, with more than 350 species, are found in the USSR, including beets, spinach, Anabasis, saxaul, goosefoot, and saltwort. Many species are of considerable importance, particularly as feed for livestock in deserts and semideserts.
REFERENCESIl’in, M. M. “Marevye—Chenopodiaceae Less.” In Flora SSSR, vol. 6. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936.
Ulbrich, E. “Chenopodiaceae.” In Die naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien, 2nd ed., vol. 16c. Leipzig, 1934.
M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV