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Atriplex confertifolia (Torr. & Frém.) S. Wats.
Shadscale, Spiny saltbush, Shadscale saltbush, Hop sage
Synonyms: Atriplex collina, Atriplex jonesii, Atriplex subconferta
USDA Symbol: atco
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Shadscale or spiny saltbush is an erect, rigidly branched, spiny, rounded shrub, 1-3 ft. high. Persistent, velvety-gray leaves are densely crowded on scurfy branches which may become shiny and leafless. Attractive, summer flowers are followed by masses of creamy-yellow seed clusters.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , ND , NM , NV , OR , TX , UT , WY Native Distribution:
W. ND to e. OR, s. to n. & w. TX & n. AZ Native Habitat:
Alkaline desert valleys; hillsides; bluffs USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Dry, rocky or sandy, alkaline soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based, Caliche type, Calcareous.
Conditions Comments: Very salt and alkaline tolerant. Thrives on adversity. Will tolerate, but not do well, in clay.
PropagationDescription: Increase by spring-sown seed or softwood cuttings.
Seed Collection: Gather by hand when ripe in late summer or fall. Cleaning or dewinging before storage is not necessary although the bracts contain high accumulations of soluble salts which may inhibit germination. Store seed in cloth or paper bags in a dry, cool place. Seeds must undergo a period of after-ripening.
Seed Treatment: Germination of many Atriplex species can be increased by presoaking the fruits and then wringing the water and dissolved salts from the material.
Commercially Avail: yes
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Record Modified: 2008-10-31
Research By: TWC Staff