E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Atriplex argentea Nutt.
Silvery Orache (Maidenhair Spleenwort; silver saltbush; silverscale saltbush)
Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)
(Previously in Chenopodiaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ryan Batten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #66701)

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Distribution of Atriplex argentea
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Atriplex argentea var. argentea

Species Information

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Annual herb from a taproot; stems erect, freely branching from the base, 15-80 cm tall.
Lower leaves opposite, upper leaves alternate, stalked or stalkless, lanceolate to egg-shaped or diamond-shaped, 2-6 cm long, squared-off to wedge-shaped at the base, margins smooth to slightly toothed, covered with a white mealy substance and generally greyish-green overall, sometimes nearly glabrous on upper surfaces.
Inflorescence of axillary spikes, greenish, numerous; pistillate bracteoles fused, broadest above the middle, 4-10 mm long, firmly enclosing the fruit, the margins green and deeply toothed.
Membranous pericarps; seeds erect, about 1.5 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Saline disturbed areas and fields in the steppe and montane zones; rare in SC and SE BC; E to W MB and S to NM and N CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

"The genus Atriplex, commonly called orache, atriplex or saltbush, of the family Chenopodiaceae (the goosefoot family), comprises nearly 200 species. The genus has a worldwide distribution, occurring on all continents except Antarctica. Most of the species are halophytes of coastal or inland saline habitats; a few are widespread ruderals of disturbed ground." (Bassett et al. 1983).


Bassett, I. J., C. W. Crompton, J. McNeill and P. M. Taschereau. 1983. The genus Atriplex (Chenopodiaceae) in Canada. Monograph #31, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa.


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References