Other common names
Povertyweed, bozzleweed, deathweed, salt sage, small-flowered marsh elder
Poverty sumpweed grows to 2 feet tall in large colonies in disturbed sites. The leaves have a strong odor most people find unpleasant. When touched, the foliage can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive people.
Grayish-green, lobed and covered with short, bristly hairs. Oppositely attached to the stem toward the bottom of the plant, and alternately attached above.
Gray-green, bristly, upright and branched.
Produces greenish male and female flowers on the same plant during the summer. Male flowers hang or nod at the ends of branches. Female flowers are spiny and are found in the leaf axils.
Grows deep, woody creeping roots.
Western North America
Where it grows
Salt marshes, alkali plains, roadsides and pastures, and sites disturbed by cultivation or overgrazing
Perennial (lives longer than two years)
Reproduces by creeping roots and seed
Poverty sumpweed can be difficult to control due to its deep, spreading root system. As with all perennials, the roots must be killed to effectively control this plant.