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Atriplex hortensis - L.
                 
Common Name Orach, Garden orache
Family Chenopodiaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
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. The seed contains saponins[240]. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].
Habitats Arable land, waste and disturbed ground, shingle etc[9].
Range Europe. An occasional garden escape in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

Summary

Atriplex hortensis Orach, Garden orache


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Atriplex_hortensis_cleaned_Sturm.png
Atriplex hortensis Orach, Garden orache
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Atriplex hortensis is a ANNUAL growing to 1.8 m (6ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained 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 moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Synonyms

Habitats
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked[2, 16, 27, 33]. Used like spinach[9], they have a bland flavour and are traditionally mixed with sorrel leaves in order to modify the acidity of the latter[183]. Another report says that the flavour is stronger than spinach[264]. Seed - cooked. It can be ground into a meal and used in soups etc or be mixed with flour when making bread[177, 183]. The seed is said to be a good source of vitamin A[240]. The seed is also said to contain some saponins[240]. See the notes above on toxicity. The seed is small and fiddly to harvest and use.
Medicinal Uses


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Antirheumatic;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Purgative.

The leaves are diuretic, emetic and purgative[100, 269]. They are also said to be a stimulant to the metabolism and an infusion is used as a spring tonic and a remedy for tiredness and nervous exhaustion[9]. They have been suggested as a folk remedy for treating plethora and lung ailments[269]. The leaves are said to be efficacious when used externally in the treatment of gout[4]. The seeds, mixed with wine, are said to cure yellow jaundice. They also excite vomiting[269]. The fruits are purgative and emetic[269]. Liniments and emollients prepared from the whole plant, like the juice of the plant, are said to be folk remedies for indurations and tumours, especially of the throat[269].
Other Uses
Biomass;  Dye.

A blue dye is obtained from the seed[74, 100]. The plant is a potential source of biomass. Yields of 14 tonnes per hectare have been achieved in the vicinity of Landskrona and Lund, Sweden. Higher yields might be expected farther south. If the leaf-protein were extracted, this should leave more than 13 tonnes biomass as by-product, for potential conversion to liquid or gaseous fuels[269].
Cultivation details
Orach is a very easily grown plant, doing equally well in a wide variety of well-drained soils, though rich, moisture-retentive soils give the quick growth that is necessary for the production of tender leaves[33, 37, 200, 269]. Plants require a position in full sun and are tolerant of saline and very alkaline soils[200]. They thrive in any temperate climate, and are drought resistant[269]. Orach is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 30 to 140cm, an average annual temperature in the range of 6 to 24°C, and a pH of 5.0 to 8.2[269]. Orach was formerly cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties[183]. It can be grown as a warm weather substitute for spinach[183]. Some forms of this species have bronze or deep red leaves and are occasionally grown as ornamental plants, their leaves taste the same as the green-leafed forms[K]. Plants are fast-growing[238] and usually self-sow quite freely if the surrounding soil is disturbed by hoeing etc[K]. They tolerate hot weather well, but soon go to seed so successive sowings at 4 weekly intervals are required during the growing season if a continuous supply of leaves is required[269]. Leaves can be harvested 40 - 60 days after sowing the seed[269]. This species is a poor companion plant for potatoes, inhibiting their growth when growing close to them[20].
Propagation
Seed - sow March to August in situ, only just covering the seed[134]. Germination is usually good and rapid[K].
Other Names
Found In
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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Atriplex argenteaSilvery Orach, Silverscale saltbush, Stalked saltbush22
Atriplex argentea expansaSilverscale Saltbush20
Atriplex californicaCalifornia Orach, California saltbush30
Atriplex canescensGrey Sage Brush, Fourwing saltbush41
Atriplex carnosaThickleaf Orach20
Atriplex confertifoliaShadscale, Shadscale saltbush41
Atriplex coronataCrownscale20
Atriplex dimorphostegia 20
Atriplex elegansWheelscale Saltbush20
Atriplex glabriusculaScotland orache, Maritime saltbush, Frankton's saltbush, Northeastern saltbush20
Atriplex gmeliniiGmelin's saltbush20
Atriplex halimusSea Orach, Saltbush51
Atriplex hastataHastate Orach30
Atriplex lapathifolia 30
Atriplex lentiformisQuail Bush, Big saltbush, Quailbush,31
Atriplex maximowiczianaMaximowicz's saltbush20
Atriplex mucronata 20
Atriplex nummulariaGiant Saltbush, Bluegreen saltbush30
Atriplex nuttalliiNuttall's Saltbush40
Atriplex patulaSpreading Orach, Spear saltbush31
Atriplex powelliiPowell's Saltweed20
Atriplex saccariaSack Saltbush20
Atriplex serenanaBractscale, Davidson's bractscale20
Atriplex subcordata 20
Atriplex tataricaTatarian orache20
Atriplex truncataWedgescale Saltbush20
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Expert comment
 
Author
L.
Botanical References
200
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Dallas Gardinier Tue Apr 22 20:11:12 2003
I want to know if orach has high amounts of oxalic acid. And data on it's nutrient content.
Elizabeth H.
Jan Karpisek Fri Sep 12 2008

Photo of the red orach by Jan Karpisek for pfaf.org

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Subject : Atriplex hortensis  

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