Extriplex californica (Moq.) E.H.Zacharias
Phyllotheca parvifolia Nutt. ex Moq.
Common Name: California Orach
Atriplex californica is a prostrate to decumbent, herbaceous perennial plant with many-branched stems; it grows 15 - 50cm tall from a fleshy taproot[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food
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.
South-western N. America - California, northern Mexico
Sea bluffs, sandy coasts, crevices in sea cliffs, coastal strands, edges of coastal salt marsh, coastal sage scrub; at elevations from sea level to 50 metres[
This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the temperate zone, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[
Succeeds in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil[
]. Most species in this genus tolerate saline and very alkaline soils[
]. Succeeds in a hot dry position.
This species can be monoecious or dioecious - dioecious forms will need both male and female plants if seed is required[
Leaves - cooked.
Seed - cooked. Used as a piñole[
]. The seeds are 1 - 2mm in diameter[
Seed - sow mid spring in a cold frame. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 3 weeks at 13°c. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer[