- (Sp. model spelled same [seníso] probably < ceniza 'ashes' [due to the color of the plant's leaves] < Vulgar Latin *cinlsia 'ashes mixed with hot coals,' a collective noun derived from Latin cinerem 'ashes')1) Texas: 1892. A salt-bush, including the Atriplex canescens.2) Texas: 1936. A silverleaf, including the Leucophyllum frutescens.Alternate form: ceniza. The DRAE references cenizo as a wild plant of the Chenopodiaceae family that has an erect, herbaceous, white-colored stalk that is approximately two to two-and-a-half feet in height. The plant's leaves are rhomboidal in shape, serrated, green on top, and ash-colored on the undersides. The flowers are greenish and form an irregular spreading cluster. Santamaría also references cenizo and gives three distinct meanings. In northern Mexico and Texas, it refers to a scrophulariaceous bush that is used as a home remedy to reduce fever. It is also known in Spanish as palo cenizo and yerba de cenizo; in Texas as cenicilla or cenicillo. The Latin name is Leuco-phyllum texanum. In Tabasco, Mexico, and southeastern Mexico, cenizo is a melastomaceous plant (Miconia argentea) that is native to tropical climates and is especially common on the isthmus. In northeastern Mexico and New Mexico it is a chenopodiaceous plant (Atriplex canescens) whose seeds are used for food by some native tribes. It is also known as chamiso (along the border) and costillas de vaca (in Zacatecas, Mexico). Its leaves, which have a salty flavor, are used as fodder.Cf. (2). Watts gives chamiso and chamizo as alternate forms, but the DARE indicates that these are generally different plants.
Cowboy Talk. A Dictionary of Spanish Terms. Robert N. Smead. 2013.