Plants usually annual, rarely perennial, 8-40 cm. Leaves: blade linear to oblanceolate, 0.8-5 × 0.05-0.2 cm, sometimes with hyaline basal teeth 0.2-0.4 mm, apex obtuse or acute, surfaces glabrous or scabrid. Inflorescences 2-12(-25) cm; bracts persistent, linear to lanceolate, 1-1.5 mm. Flowers: sepals lanceolate to deltate, 0.7-1.5(-2) mm; petals whitish, ovate, slightly shorter than sepals, 0.7-1(-1.7) mm, usually distinct, sometimes barely connate basally; filaments 1.5(-2) mm, barely connate basally; anthers 0.3-0.5 mm. Capsules sessile or subsessile, compressed-subglobose, 1.7-3 × 2-3.4 mm, apically 4-toothed, teeth acute, 0.5-0.7 mm. Seeds black or brown, 0.5-0.7 mm. 2n = 30.
Flowering (Jan-)Feb-Jul(-Dec). Pastures, desert washes, sand dunes, creosote scrub, mesquite thickets, volcanic soil, sometimes in brackish or alkaline soils; -60-1200(-1400) m; Ariz., Calif., Nev., N.Mex., Tex., Utah; n Mexico (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, Sonora, Zacatecas); sw, c Asia; n Africa; n Atlantic Islands.
The native status of Oligomeris linifolia in North America has long been controversial; its presence represents the most remarkable disjunction in the family. Recent molecular research (S. Martín-Bravo et al. 2009) strongly suggests that it is native here.
Oligomeris linifolia has been reported to be toxic to cattle. Occurrence of this species in Utah is based on the following collection: 'southern Utah,' 1877, E. Palmer 47 (US, WIS). 'Cambess' has appeared in literature as a common name for O. linifolia, apparently resulting from confusion with an abbreviation of the author Cambessèdes. 'Lineleaf whitepuff' has also appeared as a common name for this species; the epithet linifolia should be translated as 'flax-leaved.'
Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Erect and strictly or profusely branched from base, 5-40 cm tall. Leaves: Linear, 1-3.5 cm long, in fascicles, fleshy, glaucous or green. Flowers: Densely flowered spikes, bracted, 1-10 cm long, terminal; greenish flowers 1-1.5 mm, petals white or greenish white, 1 mm long, oblanceolate or oblong, entire or faintly lobed. Fruits: Capsule 4-lobed, 4-beaked, 1.5-2 mm wide, broader than high. Ecology: Found on sandy, sometimes saline soil of desert flats and along margins of washes below 2,500 ft (762 m); flowers March-June. Distribution: TX to CA and n MEX; Asia and Africa Notes: At first blush the thought is this plant is something from Amaranthaceae but pay attention to the seeds and the different flowers. Ethnobotany: No known uses. Etymology: Oligomeris is from Greek oligos, a few and meris, part or parts, while linifolia means linear-leaved. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010