This is a complex species with four subspecies recognised in the Flora of N. America[
]. The distinguishing features of this complex are shared singly and often in combination with other taxa. Only by use of combinations of features can this taxon be defined. Some herbarium specimens specimens are apparently intermediate with other species, especially with the closely allied Atriplex saccaria, with which it is at least partially sympatric[
Atriplex expansa S.Watson
Atriplex hillmanii (M.E.Jones) Standl.
Atriplex longitrichoma Stutz, G.L.Chu & S.C.Sand.
Atriplex mohavensis (M.E.Jones) Standl.
Atriplex pachypoda Stutz & G.L.Chu
Atriplex rydbergii Standl.
Atriplex sordida Standl.
Atriplex trinervata Jeps.
Atriplex volutans A.Nelson
Obione argentea (Nutt.) Moq.
Common Name: Silvery Orach
Atriplex argentea is an erect or decumbent, annual plant with a stem that can be unbranched or freely branched; it can grow 50 - 60cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine.
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.
Western N. America - British Colombia to Manitoba, south to California, northern Mexico and Texas.
Dry or moist, saline, fine-textured substrates, clay or silty alluvium, growing in salt desert shrub, valley bottoms and floodplain communities; at elevations from 1,200 - 2,100 metres[
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Species in this genus generally succeed in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil[
]. Most species in this genus tolerate saline and very alkaline soils[
Leaves - cooked, or boiled with other foods as a flavouring[
]. The tender young leaves can be used as greens[
Seed - cooked. It can be ground into a meal and used as a thickener in soups etc, or be mixed with flour when making bread etc[
]. The immature seeds can be eaten together with their surrounding calyx[
The leaves have been used as a fumigant in the treatment of pain[
]. A poultice of the leaves has been applied to spider bites[
]. A cold infusion of the plant has been used to treat sickness caused by drinking bad water, and to purify the water[
A poultice of the chewed roots has been applied to sores and rashes[
]. An infusion of the root has been used in the treatment of stomach aches[
A cold infusion of the plant has been used to purify water[
Seed - sow mid spring in situ. Germination is usually rapid.