Stems erect or occasionally semierect, usually branching from base, 1-4 dm, farinose to densely farinose. Leaves nonaromatic; petiole to 0.5 cm; blade linear, 1-veined, 0.7-2.6(-3) × 0.1-0.3 cm, usually somewhat fleshy, base cuneate, margins entire, apex obtuse, densely farinose abaxially. Inflorescences glomerules in terminal and axillary panicle; glomerules widely spaced, maturing irregularly; bracts leaflike in proximal part of inflorescence and linear to 2 × 0.1 mm on terminal branches. Flowers: perianth segments 5, distinct nearly to base; lobes lanceolate to elliptic, 0.8-1 × 0.5-0.6 mm, apex obtuse to rounded, prominently keeled abaxially, densely farinose, covering fruit at maturity; stamens 5; stigmas 2, 0.1 mm. Achenes ovoid; pericarp adherent, smooth. Seeds ovoid, 0.9-1.1 mm diam., margins round; seed coat black, finely rugulate. 2n = 18.
Fruiting mid summer-early fall. Open, often disturbed sandy areas and fields; 400-3400 m; Alta., B.C., Sask., Yukon; Alaska, Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Maine, Nev., N.Mex., Okla., Oreg., Tex., Utah, Wash., Wyo.
This species is reported also for Kansas and Montana but we have not seen any specimens.
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Native annual; 20-60 cm tall; erect; 1 to few stems; often branched. Leaves: Leaves linear to narrowly lanceolate; powdery/mealy below; less so above; 1-nerved. Flowers: Flowers inconspicuous, in spike-like clusters. Fruits: Small utricle (+/-1mm). Ecology: Open, gravelly soils, shrubland, and coniferous forests from 5,000-7,000 ft (1525-2135 m); throughout western United States; flowers August-September. Distribution: Most of western N. Amer., from Saskatchewan west to B.C. south to CA and west to NM; south to c MEX.; also in Europe and E. Asia. Notes: Very similar to C. desiccatum and C. hians. Distinguished by being a densely powdery annual with linear, entire-margined 1-nerved leaves; the coat over the seed (pericarp) sticking to the seed, which is smooth and not honeycombed. Host plant for Western Pygmy Blue butterfly. Ethnobotany: Apache and Zuni eat young plants raw or cooked. Seed flour used by Apache, Hopi, and Zuni for bread or corn dumplings. Etymology: Chenopodium means goose foot, lepto- means thin or delicate and phylla-means leaved. Synonyms: Chenopodium album var. leptophyllum Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015
Similar in aspect to no. 18 [Chenopodium pratericola Rydb.], but the lvs narrower, linear or lance-linear, entire, somewhat fleshy, 1-nerved, mostly 2-4 cm נ2-4 mm; pericarp firmly attached to the seed, seed ca 1 mm wide or less. 2n=18. Widespread in dry ground in w. U.S., and occasionally found in disturbed sites toward the w. margin of our range. (C. pallescens; C. subglabrum)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.