Bassia All. (incl. Kochia Roth)

The generic limits of Bassia and related genera (incl. Kochia) have long been controversial. In its traditional (narrow) sense Bassia only includes species with tepals with hooked, spiniform or conical appendages in fruit. Kochia, in turn, is characterised by smooth tepals. Scott (1978) circumscribed Bassia in a very broad sense, including Kochia (and some other genera), and his viewpoint was widely followed for some decades (also by Lambinon & al. 2004). However, an increasing number of important, recent authors tend to apply a narrow generic concept of Bassia and Kochia (see for instance Mosyakin 2003, Zhu & al. 2003, Mabberley 2008). As such, Kochia includes about 15 species in North America, Eurasia and Africa (only five Old World species according to Mabberley 2008). However, recent phylogenetic studies (Kadereit & Freitag 2011) strongly suggest inclusion of most species of Kochia in Bassia. Some anomalous species are transferred to new genera, for instance the alien Bassia hirsuta (L.) Aschers. that now should be called Spirobassia hirsuta (L.) Freitag & Kadereit. This new viewpoint is followed here as well.

Additional aliens: Bassia hyssopifolia (Pallas) O. Kuntze (syn.: Kochia hyssopifolia (Pallas) Schrad.) (Euras., wool alien) and B. laniflora (S.G. Gmel.) A.J. Scott (syn.: Kochia laniflora (S.G. Gmel.) Borbás) (S and C.-Eur., As., vector unkown). Bassia hyssopifolia was also recorded in Belgium after 1950 (the last time in 1967) but all records are associated with wool importation. New appearances are therefore rather unlikely. In general habit it much looks like Bassia scoparia but its tepals are distinctly hooked in the fruiting stage.


Aellen P. (1960) Bassia and Kochia. In: Hegi G. (ed.), Illustrierte Flora van Mitteleuropa, vol. 3(2) (2nd ed.). Carl Hanser Verlag, München: 711-714 and 705-711 respectively.

Blackwell W.H., Baechle M.D. & Williamson G. (1978) Synopsis of Kochia (Chenopodiaceae) in North America. Sida 7: 248-254.

Kadereit G. & Freitag H. (2011) Molecular phylogeny of Camphorosmeae (Camphorosmoideae, Chenopodiaceae): implications for biogeography, evolution of C4-photosynthesis and taxonomy. Taxon 60(1): 51-78.

Lambinon J., Delvosalle L., Duvigneaud J. (avec coll. Geerinck D., Lebeau J., Schumacker R. & Vannerom H. (2004) Nouvelle Flore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des Régions voisines (Ptéridophytes et Spermatophytes). Cinquième édition. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise: CXXX + 1167 p.

Mabberley D.J. (2008) Mabberley’s plant-book (3th ed.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: XVIII + 1021 p.

Mosyakin S.L. (2003) Bassia and Kochia. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (eds.), Flora of North America, vol. 4. Oxford University Press, New York-Oxford: 309-312.

Scott A.J. (1978) A revision of the Camphorosmioideae (Chenopodiaceae). Feddes Repert. 89: 101-119.

Turki Z., El-Shayeb F. & Shehata F. (2006) Taxonomic studies in the Camphorosmeae (Chenopodiaceae) in Egypt. 1. Subtribe Kochiinae (Bassia, Kochia and Chenolea). Flora Medit. 16: 275-294.

Zhu G.-L., Mosyakin S.L. & Clemants S.E. (2003) Chenopodiaceae. In: Wu Z.Y. & Raven P.H. (eds.), Flora of China, vol. 5. Science Press, Beijing & Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis: 351-414.

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith