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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Ryan Batten     (Photo ID #66701)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Atriplex argentea
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Atriplex argentea var. argentea

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Taxonomic 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.