Herbs & Plants

Atriplex halimus

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Botanical Name : Atriplex halimus
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Atriplex
Species:A. halimus
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Names: Sea Orach, Saltbush,Mediterranean saltbush, Shrubby orache, Silvery orache

Habitat :Atriplex halimus is native to Europe and Northern Africa, including the Sahara in Morocco. It grows on coastal sands by the sea. Saltmarshes
Atriplex halimus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in July. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) 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. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

An easily grown plant, it succeeds in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil. Tolerates saline and very alkaline soils[200]. Succeeds in dry soils including pure sands. Plants will grow in semi-shade, though they will soon become leggy in such a position, they are really best in full sun. A very wind hardy plant, it is resistant to salt-laden gales, and can be used as a hedge in maritime areas. Plants dislike very wet climates. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. This plant is hardier than the foregoing report suggests, it grows well at Hilliers Arboretum in Hampshire where temperatures can fall somewhat lower than -10°c. Plants can be damaged by severe frosts but they soon recover. Resents root disturbance when large. Plants are apt to succumb to winter wet when grown on heavy or rich soils.
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. The seed is seldom formed. 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 – raw or cooked. Some forms are eaten raw. A famine food according to one report, but in modern days it is far from being a famine food, in fact this is one of the more popular crops being grown at ‘The Field’ at present (1993). The leaves have a very nice rather salty flavour, they go well in salads or can be cooked like spinach. When lightly steamed, the leaves retain their crispness and are a delicious spinach substitute. The leaves retain their salty flavour even when grow inland in non-salty soils. The leaves can be used at any time of the year though winter harvesting must be light because the plant is not growing much at this time. Seed – cooked. It can be ground into a meal and used as a thickener in soups, or mixed with cereals in making bread. The seed is small and fiddly. The plant is said to yield an edible manna.

Medicinal Uses:


The shoots are burnt to produce an antacid powder.

Other Uses:
Hedge; Hedge; Soap making; Soil reclamation.

The ash from the burnt plant is used as the alkali in making soap. The plant makes a superb wind-resistant low-growing hedge that can be allowed to grow untrimmed or can be trimmed. It is especially valuable in maritime areas, succeeding right on the coast, though can also be used inland. The plant is extremely tolerant of pruning and can regrow even when cut back into old wood. The plant draws salt out of the soil and so has been used in soil-reclamation projects to de-salinate the soil

Use in antiquity:
According to Jewish tradition, the leaves of Atriplex halimus (orache), known in Mishnaic Hebrew it is said to be the plant gathered and eaten by the poor people who returned out of exile (in circa 352 BCE) to build the Second Temple. Maimonides, in his commentary on Mishnah Kilaim 1:3, as also Ishtori Haparchi in his seminal work, Kaftor u’ferach, both mention the le??n?n by its Arabic name, al-qa?af, a plant so-named to this very day. In the Mishnah (ibid.) we are told that the laws prohibiting the growing of diverse kinds in the same garden furrow do not apply to beets and to orache (Atriplex spp.) that are grown together, although dissimilar

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.