Herbs & Plants

Atriplex lentiformis

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Botanical Name : Atriplex lentiformis
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Atriplex
Species:A. lentiformis
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: A. breweri S.Wats A. lentiformis var. breweri (S.Wats.) McMinn = A. lentiformis subsp. brewer

Common Names: Quail bush, Big saltbrush, Big saltbush, Quailbrush, Lenscale, Len-scale saltbush and White thistle

Habitat : Atriplex lentiformis is native to South-western N. AmericaCalifornia, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Mexico. It grows on saline to essentially non-saline drainages, stream and canal banks, roadsides, warm desert shrub, saltbush, and riparian communities at elevations of 70 – 1000 metres.
Atriplex lentiformis is an evergreen spreading communal shrub reaching one to three meters in height and generally more in width. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. It is highly branched and bears scaly or scurfy gray-green leaves up to 5 centimeters long and often toothed or rippled along the edges. This species may be dioecious or monoecious, with individuals bearing either male or female flowers, or sometimes both. Male flowers are borne in narrow inflorescences up to 50 centimeters long, while inflorescences of female flowers are smaller and more compact. Plants can change from monoecious to dioecious and from male to female and vice versa.The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.


Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Requires a position in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil. Tolerates saline and very alkaline soils. Succeeds in a hot dry position. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Forms growing in coastal and near coastal regions of California have somewhat broader, merely ovate, rounded leaves, and they have been regarded either at species level as Atriplex breweri S. Watson or as a sub-species of A. lentiformis. Plants are more commonly dioecious, though monoecious forms can also be found.

Seed – sow April/May in a cold frame in a compost of peat and sand. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 3 weeks at 13°c. Pot up the seedlings when still small into individual pots, grow on in a greenhouse for the first winter and plant out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Very easy. Pot up as soon as they start to root (about 3 weeks) and plant out in their permanent positions late in the following spring. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, November/December in a frame. Very easy. Pot up in early spring and plant out in their permanent position in early summer.

Edible Uses:
Leaves and young shoots – cooked. Seed – cooked. It can be used as a piñole or be ground into a meal and used as a porridge, a thickener in soups or added to flour for making bread. The seed is rather small and fiddly to use.
Medicinal Uses:

Miscellany; Poultice.

The fresh leaves can be chewed, or the dried leaves smoked, in the treatment of head colds. The crushed flowers, stems and leaves can be steamed and inhaled to treat nasal congestion. A poultice of the powdered roots has been applied to sores.

Other Uses:...Miscellany; Soap…..The crushed leaves and roots have been used as a soap for washing clothes etc.
This saltbush species, A. lentiformis, and Atriplex canescens are the food plants for the saltbush sootywing Hesperopsis alpheus, a butterfly.

Atriplex lentiformis is used in restoration of riparian habitats, one of the native plants in riparian zone restoration projects in its native ranges

Known Hazards:  No member of this genus contains any toxins, all have more or less edible leaves. However, if grown with artificial fertilizers, they may concentrate harmful amounts of nitrates in their leaves.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

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