Atriplex denticulata Moq.
Atriplex flagellaris Wooton & Standl.
Atriplex neurivalvis Domin
Atriplex semibracteata Steud.
Atriplex stuckertii Gand.
Common Name: Australian Saltbush
Atriplex semibaccata is a mostly evergreen perennial plant with decombent to prostrate stems that become more or less woody. The plant is multistemmed, growing from an often buried woody caudex; it grows 5 - 80cm tall and can spread 150cm or more wide[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental, making good groundcover in arid areas, and is also used in restoration projects to reclaim and stabilize land.
Atriplex semibaccata has been introduced around the world as a drought and salt tolerant forage. It has escaped cultivation in southwestern N. America and, through its seed's ability to germinate more easily and freely than native species, is now invasive in coastal grasslands, scrub and saline area, where it can form a dense cover inhibiting the growth of native plants. The California Invasive Plant Council classifies its potential impact on native ecosystems as moderate[
Australia - Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territories
Naturalized in southwest N. America, growing in saline waste places, along roads and sidewalks, in marshes, in various plant communities; at elevations from 10 - 1,000 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Atriplex semibaccata is a plant of sub-tropical arid and semi-arid areas and appears to grow well also in Mediterranean winter rainfall areas. It can also tolerate warm temperate areas with rain all year round. It is most common in areas where the mean annual rainfall is within the range 250 - 900mm[
]. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperature is within the range 10 - 23°c, with the mean temperatures in the hottest month ranging from 27 - 36°c and in the coldest month from 0 - 10°c. It can tolerate an absolute minimum of -5°c[
Grows best in a sunny position, though able to tolerate some shade in hot, sunny climates[
]. The plant appears to grow in many soil types though preferring light and more acidic soils. However, this includes heavier clay loams and even those than are occasionally waterlogged, but are more generally light to medium clay loams (35-50% clay) or loams, sandy loams, or sandy clay loams[
]. Tolerant of strong, salt-laden winds[
]. A deep-rooted plant, it is a very drought-tolerant species[
This species photosynthesizes by a more efficient method than most plants. Called the 'C4 carbon-fixation pathway', this process is particularly efficient at high temperatures, in bright sunlight and under dry conditions[
In New South Wales, Australia the plant was found to become dormant in winter whereas other Atriplex species remained green, though all species studied showed good adaptation notwithstanding the low and variable rainfall, wide range in temperature, humidity and evaporation and poor soils[
Fruit - raw[
The plant is used as a groundcover in arid areas and also for erosion control of vulnerable soils[
In addition, it has been planted with the aim of restoring mine spoils, e.g. on saline gold mine wastes[
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 plant produces large numbers of fruits and seed and like many other species of the genus, does not appear to exhibit any characteristics of dormancy, with high germination rates with no pre-treatment recorded[
]. The seed germinates best at 21°c, while germination ratesmay be improved by soaking the seeds for several hours to dilute and flush chemicals that inhibit germination[
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[