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Atriplex hymenelytra (Desert holly)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy

Atriplex hymenelytra

Atriplex hymenelytra (Torr.) S. Watson

Desert Holly, Silver Holly

Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A 2-3 ft., compactly branching plant from thickened, gnarly, woody bases. The roundish leaves are covered with a silvery-white scurf. Compactly branched, silvery white, covered with numerous hollylike leaves. Greenish flowers are in panicled spikes and are followed by flattened fruit.

The hollylike leaves of this extremely attractive shrub are often used in household decorations.


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf: Gray
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr


USA: AZ , CA , NV , UT
Native Distribution: S.w. UT to s.e. CA, s. to AZ & Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry, sandy or stony sites

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, sandy or stony soils
Conditions Comments: Must have well-drained site and as little water as possible to survive. Tolerates high alkalinity.


Description: Increase by 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

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Atriplex hymenelytra in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Atriplex hymenelytra in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Atriplex hymenelytra


Record Modified: 2009-02-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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