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Synonym: Spreading Orache.
Common Names:Spear Saltbush; Common Orache; Spear Orach; Spreading Orach
Atriplex patula is native to most of Europe, including Britain, south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia. It grows on waste and arable land near the coast, it is usually found on clays and heavy ground.
Atriplex patula is a ruderal, circumboreal species of annual herbaceous plants in the genus Atriplex naturalized in many temperate regions.
The leaves are triangular in outline, rather narrow, the lower ones in opposite pairs. The very small, green flowers are in dense clusters.
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The whole plant is more or less covered with a powdery meal, often tinged red. It is distinguished from the Goosefoot genus Chenopodium, by the solitary seeds being enclosed between two triangular leaf-like valves.
‘These are to be gathered when just ripe for if suffered to stand longer, they lose part of their virtue. A pound of these bruised, and put into three quarts of spirit, of moderate strength, after standing six weeks, afford a light and not unpleasant tincture; a tablespoonful of which, taken in a cup of water-gruel, has the same effect as a dose of ipecacuanha, only that its operation is milder and does not bind the bowels afterwards…. It cures headaches, wandering pains, and the first attacks of rheumatism.
Succeeds in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil. Prefers a rich soil. Tolerates saline and very alkaline soils.
Seed – sow April/May in situ. Germination is usually rapid.
Young leaves – raw or cooked as a spinach substitute. A fairly bland flavour, a few leaves of stronger-flavoured plants can be added to enhance the taste. Seed – ground and mixed with cornmeal or used to thicken soups etc. Small and very fiddly to harvest and use
The seeds, harvested when just ripe, are said to be as efficacious as ipecacuanha as a laxative.
Known Hazards: Most reports say that no member of this genus contains any toxins and that all have more or less edible leaves. However, one report says that if very large quantities are eaten they can cause photosensitivity. If plants are grown with artificial fertilizers they may concentrate harmful amounts of nitrates in their leaves.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.