Atriplex lentiformis (Torr.) S. Watson
Big Saltbush, Quailbush, Saltbush, Coastal Quail Bush
Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot Family)
USDA Symbol: atle
A widely spreading shrub with can reach 12 ft. in height where the water table is high. The branches are occasionally spiny and the round to somewhat triangular leaves have a scrufy coating lending an olive-green appearance. Greenish flowers occur in profuse, dense, compact panicles and are followed by flattened fruit.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 12 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , HI , NV , UT
Native Distribution: S.w. UT & s. NV to AZ & s. CA
Native Habitat: Low, alkaline places
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist to dry, saline soils
Conditions Comments: Can become rather rank and is good only for large areas. Ssp. breweri, native to the southern coastal region of CA, is similar in appearance and often used for conservation plantings. It requires full sun and dry soils.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Important as wildlife cover and food plants.
Use Food: Used by Native Americans to flavor food due to salty content.
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
Saltbush Sootywing |
Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationDescription: Increase by seed or softwood cuttings. Optimum germination occurs in darkness with alternating diurnal temperatures.
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.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 36 - Jepson eFlora (2019) The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Atriplex lentiformis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Atriplex lentiformis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Atriplex lentiformis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-17
Research By: TWC Staff