Atriplex confertifolia
(Shadscale)
[Wats.(Torr. & Frem.)]

Subclass: Caryophyllidae
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Chenopodiaceae
Family Description: Goosefoot

Key Characteristics:
Also known as Saltbush.
leaves
flowers
fruit
  • numerous, entire, alternate, elliptic to sub-orbicular, 1-2 cm long, ½ to 1 cm wide, narrowed to short petioles
  • dioecious plants
  • Staminate flowers with 5 deeply parted perianth, in glomerules of short leafy spikes
  • pistillate flowers 1-several in axils
  • an achene surrounded by 2 oval to semi-orbicular, entire, 5-10 mm long bracts fused less than ½ their length

General Description:
An erect, rounded, woody, dioecious shrub which forms sharp spines by the leaves. It is orbicular-ovate to obovate, entire, permanently grayish or white, scurfy leaves 1-2 cm long with short petioles. The fruiting bracts are orbicular to broadly elliptic. It grows in dry, saline soil.

Distribution:
Oregon to California, east to south central Idaho and southern Montana, Colorado and northern Mexico.

Habitat:
Dry areas with saline soil.

Other:
A rather important browsing plant in desert areas.

Important State References:
No information available at this time
Photos and Information written by Dr. Karl E. Holte,© 2002