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Atriplex canescens - (Pursh.)Nutt.

Common Name Grey Sage Brush, Fourwing saltbush
Family Chenopodiaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
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.
Habitats Sandy or gravelly, commonly non-saline but in other situations obviously saline, sites in Joshua tree, blackbrush, greasewood, salt desert shrub, sagebrush, mountain brush communities[270].
Range Central and southwestern N. America - South Dakota to Kansas, Texas, California and Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Atriplex canescens Grey Sage Brush, Fourwing saltbush


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Stan_Shebs
Atriplex canescens Grey Sage Brush, Fourwing saltbush
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Atriplex canescens is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.8 m (6ft) by 1.8 m (6ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower in July, and the seeds ripen in August. The species is 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 is pollinated by Wind. The plant is not self-fertile.
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.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Hedge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seed
Edible Uses: Colouring  Drink

Leaves - cooked or raw[85, 94. A very acceptable taste with a salty tang[K]. 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 of year[K]. Seed - cooked[46, 61]. Ground into a powder, mixed with cereals and used in making cakes etc or used as a piñole[94, 95, 183]. It is small and very fiddly to utilize[K]. The ground up seed can also be mixed with water and drunk as a refreshing beverage[183]. The burnt green herb yields culinary ashes high in minerals and these are used by the Hopi Indians to enhance the colour of blue corn products[183, 257]. The ashes can be used like baking soda[257].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Skin  Stings

The leaves can be made into a soapy lather and used as a wash on itches and rashes such as chickenpox[257]. A poultice of the crushed leaves can be applied to ant bites to reduce the pain and swelling[257].

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Other Uses

Dye  Fire retardant  Hedge  Hedge  Potash

A good hedge in maritime areas, it responds well to trimming[K]. The leaves and stems were burnt by the Hopi Indians and the alkaline ash used to maintain the blue colour when cooking blue corn[216]. A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves and stems[257]. The leaves can be made into a soapy lather and used as a hair wash[257]. The plant has fire-retardant properties and can be used for barrier plantings to control bush fires[200].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Hedge  Hedge

Cultivation details

Fodder: Bank  Management: Coppice  Management: Fodder  Minor Global Crop

Requires a position in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil[11, 134, 200]. Tolerates saline and very alkaline soils[200]. Plants are very tolerant of maritime exposure, though they dislike wet climates[K]. Resents root disturbance when large. Succeeds in a hot dry position. A very ornamental plant[60], though it is liable to succumb to winter wet when grown on heavy or rich soils[11, 200]. This species forms hybrids with Atriplex confertifolia and A. gardneri[270]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Occasional monoecious plants are found[274]. Individual plants can change sex. The change is more generally from female to male and is apparently associated with stress such as cold or drought. It would appear that the change confers a survival advantage on the plant[274].

Carbon Farming

  • Fodder: Bank  Fodder banks are plantings of high-quality fodder species. Their goal is to maintain healthy productive animals. They can be utilized all year, but are designed to bridge the forage scarcity of annual dry seasons. Fodder bank plants are usually trees or shrubs, and often legumes. The relatively deep roots of these woody perennials allow them to reach soil nutrients and moisture not available to grasses and herbaceous plants.
  • Management: Coppice  Cut to the ground repeatedly - resprouting vigorously. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Management: Fodder  Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • Minor Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world, but on a smaller scale than the global perennial staple and industrial crops, The annual value of a minor global crop is under $1 billion US. Examples include shea, carob, Brazil nuts and fibers such as ramie and sisal.

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Propagation

Seed - sow April/May in a cold frame in a compost of peat and sand. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 3 weeks at 13°c[134]. 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 very sandy compost 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[K]. 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[K].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Chamisa, Chamizo, Grey sage brush,

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Central America, China, Egypt, Hawaii, Iran, Israel, Libya, Mexico*, North Africa, North America, Pacific, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, USA,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Atriplex argenteaSilvery Orach, Silverscale saltbush, Stalked saltbushAnnual0.5 0-0  LMNM22 
Atriplex argentea expansaSilverscale SaltbushAnnual0.6 -  LMNM20 
Atriplex californicaCalifornia Orach, California saltbushPerennial0.1 7-10  LMNDM30 
Atriplex carnosaThickleaf OrachAnnual0.9 -  LMNDM20 
Atriplex confertifoliaShadscale, Shadscale saltbushShrub1.8 6-9  LMNDM410
Atriplex coronataCrownscaleAnnual0.4 -  LMNDM20 
Atriplex dimorphostegia Annual0.2 -  LMNDM20 
Atriplex elegansWheelscale SaltbushAnnual0.2 -  LMNDM20 
Atriplex glabriusculaScotland orache, Maritime saltbush, Frankton's saltbush, Northeastern saltbushAnnual0.3 0-0  LMNDM20 
Atriplex gmeliniiGmelin's saltbushAnnual0.5 0-0  LMNDM20 
Atriplex halimusSea Orach, SaltbushShrub2.0 7-10 MLMNDM513
Atriplex hastataHastate OrachAnnual0.8 -  LMNDM30 
Atriplex hortensisOrach, Garden oracheAnnual1.8 5-9 FLMNM42 
Atriplex lapathifolia Annual0.9 -  LMNDM30 
Atriplex lentiformisQuail Bush, Big saltbush, Quailbush,Shrub3.0 7-10  LMNDM312
Atriplex maximowiczianaMaximowicz's saltbushPerennial0.8 0-0  LMNDM20 
Atriplex mucronata Annual0.4 -  LMHNDM20 
Atriplex nummulariaGiant Saltbush, Bluegreen saltbushShrub3.5 7-10  LMNDM300
Atriplex nuttalliiNuttall's SaltbushShrub0.9 5-9  LMNDM400
Atriplex patulaSpreading Orach, Spear saltbushAnnual0.8 0-0  LMNM31 
Atriplex powelliiPowell's SaltweedAnnual1.5 -  LMNDM20 
Atriplex saccariaSack SaltbushAnnual0.3 -  LMNDM20 
Atriplex semibaccataAustralian Saltbush. Australian saltbush, Creeping saltbushShrub0.5 9-11 FLMHNDM203
Atriplex serenanaBractscale, Davidson's bractscaleAnnual3.0 7-10  LMNDM20 
Atriplex subcordata Annual0.5 -  LMNDM20 
Atriplex tataricaTatarian oracheAnnual1.5 0-0  LMNDM20 
Atriplex truncataWedgescale SaltbushAnnual0.9 7-10  LMNDM204

 

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Expert comment

Author

(Pursh.)Nutt.

Botanical References

1160200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Carol   Sat Apr 28 00:50:18 2001

Atriplex canescens is also highly rated in a Colorado study of plants that attract beneficial (to humans) insects. In particular, it attracts lacewings, ladybugs, and hoverflies.

And it tastes good, too? Since this plant is native to the drier parts of western North America, however, and since several web sites mention that different specimens can vary sufficiently to come close to being different species, I am hesitant to try it. Does anyone know where to buy seeds or plants of an explicitly good-tasting variety? And will this plant grow well in the eastern U.S.? (I am in south-central Indiana, with almost 40 inches of rain in an average year, and winter temperatures that occasinally get into the -20's F.

Lawler Barnes   Mon Feb 5 2007

Nature Abhors a Garden Discusses plants and people in Northern New Mexico. Will feature Saltbush on 2/11/07

lucinda del piero   Mon May 12 2008

this web page hellped me out with a load of my home work thanks so much +we get to e-mail yous lol

Plant characteristics listed by the USDA.   Sep 21 2011 12:00AM

According to the USDA plant characteristics page (http://plants.usda.gov/java/charProfile?symbol=ATCA2), A. canescens is hardy to -49'F, which would qualify it for zone 2a, rather than zone 7 listed on the PFAF page.
USDA Conservation Plants Characteristics: Atriplex canescens

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