Atriplex spinosa
(Spiny Hopsage)
[(Hook.) Collotzi]

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

Key Characteristics:
 
leaves
flowers
fruit
  • young herbage and branches are scurfy or pubescent with small stellate hairs
  • oblanceolate, 1-2.5 cm long, entire, gradually narrowed to a petiole-like base
  • pollen flowers 2-5 per cluster, subtended by one bract, bracts are leaf-like on lower flowers, becoming smaller toward the apex,
  • 4 perianth lobes are shorter than to longer than the stamens
  • Pistillate flowers in small spikes subtended by small bracts which increase in size as the fruit matures

General Description:
Erect, grayish-barked shrub, 3-12 dm tall, much branched, often twigs are spiny; herbaceous parts scurfy; evergreen leaves spatulate to oblanceolate; fruiting bracts most often reddish, varying to greenish-white

Distribution:
East of the Cascades - Eastern Washington southward to southern California and Arizona eastward to southwest Montana, Western Colorado and Wyoming.

Habitat:
Grows in alkaline soil areas.

Other:
Some members of this genus are used as flavoring, ashes for a substitute for baking powder, to color cornmeal, achenes can be ground into meal; evergreen leaves make it a valued landscaping plant.

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