Atriplex halimoides Tineo
Atriplex kataf Ehrenb. ex Boiss.
Atriplex parvifolia Pau
Atriplex serrulata Pau
Chenopodium halimus (L.) Thunb.
Schizotheca halimus (L.) Fourr.
Common Name: Sea Orach
Atriplex halimus is an erect, much-branched, loosely spreading evergreen shrub growing up to 250cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of potash. It is sometimes grown in soil reclamation projects and also as an ornamental, where it makes a very good hedge in maritime areas.
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.
Macaronesia, Mediterranean region
Coastal sands by the sea[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the temperate zone, 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, on occasions, fall somewhat lower than -10°c[
]. Plants can be damaged by severe frosts but they soon recover[
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil[
]. Tolerates saline and very alkaline soils[
]. 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[
Resents root disturbance when large[
Plants are apt to succumb to winter wet when grown on heavy or rich soils[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. Some forms are eaten raw[
]. A famine food according to one report[
], but in our opinion 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[
The shoots are burnt to produce an antacid powder[
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[
The ash from the burnt plant is used as the alkali in making soap[
Seed - sow mid spring 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, mid summer 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, late autumn in a frame. Very easy. Pot up in early spring and plant out in their permanent position in early summer[