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Atriplex canescens - (Pursh.)Nutt.

Common Name Grey Sage Brush, Fourwing saltbush
Family Chenopodiaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
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.
Habitats Sandy or gravelly, commonly non-saline but in other situations obviously saline, sites in Joshua tree, blackbrush, greasewood, salt desert shrub, sagebrush, mountain brush communities[270].
Range Central and southwestern N. America - South Dakota to Kansas, Texas, California and Mexico.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Atriplex canescens Grey Sage Brush, Fourwing saltbush


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Stan_Shebs
Atriplex canescens Grey Sage Brush, Fourwing saltbush
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Atriplex canescens is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.8 m (6ft) by 1.8 m (6ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in July, and the seeds ripen in August. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor 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 dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Hedge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Colouring;  Drink.

Leaves - cooked or raw[85, 94. A very acceptable taste with a salty tang[K]. 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 of year[K]. Seed - cooked[46, 61]. Ground into a powder, mixed with cereals and used in making cakes etc or used as a piñole[94, 95, 183]. It is small and very fiddly to utilize[K]. The ground up seed can also be mixed with water and drunk as a refreshing beverage[183]. The burnt green herb yields culinary ashes high in minerals and these are used by the Hopi Indians to enhance the colour of blue corn products[183, 257]. The ashes can be used like baking soda[257].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Skin;  Stings.

The leaves can be made into a soapy lather and used as a wash on itches and rashes such as chickenpox[257]. A poultice of the crushed leaves can be applied to ant bites to reduce the pain and swelling[257].

Other Uses

Dye;  Fire retardant;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Potash.

A good hedge in maritime areas, it responds well to trimming[K]. The leaves and stems were burnt by the Hopi Indians and the alkaline ash used to maintain the blue colour when cooking blue corn[216]. A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves and stems[257]. The leaves can be made into a soapy lather and used as a hair wash[257]. The plant has fire-retardant properties and can be used for barrier plantings to control bush fires[200].

Cultivation details

Fodder: Bank;  Management: Coppice;  Management: Fodder;  Minor Global Crop.

Requires a position in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil[11, 134, 200]. Tolerates saline and very alkaline soils[200]. Plants are very tolerant of maritime exposure, though they dislike wet climates[K]. Resents root disturbance when large. Succeeds in a hot dry position. A very ornamental plant[60], though it is liable to succumb to winter wet when grown on heavy or rich soils[11, 200]. This species forms hybrids with Atriplex confertifolia and A. gardneri[270]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Occasional monoecious plants are found[274]. Individual plants can change sex. The change is more generally from female to male and is apparently associated with stress such as cold or drought. It would appear that the change confers a survival advantage on the plant[274].

Propagation

Seed - sow April/May in a cold frame in a compost of peat and sand. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 3 weeks at 13°c[134]. 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. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a very sandy compost 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[K]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, November/December in a frame. Very easy. Pot up in early spring and plant out in their permanent position in early summer[K].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Chamisa, Chamizo, Grey sage brush,

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Central America, China, Egypt, Hawaii, Iran, Israel, Libya, Mexico*, North Africa, North America, Pacific, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, USA,

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 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 hortensisOrach, Garden orache42
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

(Pursh.)Nutt.

Botanical References

1160200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Carol   Sat Apr 28 00:50:18 2001

Atriplex canescens is also highly rated in a Colorado study of plants that attract beneficial (to humans) insects. In particular, it attracts lacewings, ladybugs, and hoverflies.

And it tastes good, too? Since this plant is native to the drier parts of western North America, however, and since several web sites mention that different specimens can vary sufficiently to come close to being different species, I am hesitant to try it. Does anyone know where to buy seeds or plants of an explicitly good-tasting variety? And will this plant grow well in the eastern U.S.? (I am in south-central Indiana, with almost 40 inches of rain in an average year, and winter temperatures that occasinally get into the -20's F.

Lawler Barnes   Mon Feb 5 2007

Nature Abhors a Garden Discusses plants and people in Northern New Mexico. Will feature Saltbush on 2/11/07

lucinda del piero   Mon May 12 2008

this web page hellped me out with a load of my home work thanks so much +we get to e-mail yous lol

Plant characteristics listed by the USDA.   Sep 21 2011 12:00AM

According to the USDA plant characteristics page (http://plants.usda.gov/java/charProfile?symbol=ATCA2), A. canescens is hardy to -49'F, which would qualify it for zone 2a, rather than zone 7 listed on the PFAF page.
USDA Conservation Plants Characteristics: Atriplex canescens

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Subject : Atriplex canescens  
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