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This is a low-growing shrub that was introduced into the US Southwest as a forage food for cattle. It is now considered an invasive weed. It produces tiny red berries that can be eaten and are indeed salty.
I purposely planted this bush in my urban, semi-arid garden because it attracts and nourishes Plebejus butterflies (see last picture and previous spotting http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/348...).