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Specimen numbers are hyperlinked to records in the Consortium of California Herbaria data view where possible. Taxa are hyperlinked to entries in the Jepson Interchange via the "[Online Interchange]" link.

 

ATRIPLEX SALTBUSH, ORACH

Elizabeth H. Zacharias


Generally monoecious annual, to generally dioecious shrub, generally scaly. Leaf: generally alternate, distal ± reduced; blade entire to variously dentate; anatomy Kranz or non-Kranz (see note). Inflorescence: axillary or terminal. Staminate inflorescence: spheric cluster to spike-like or panicle; bracts 0. Pistillate inflorescence: cluster to spike- or panicle-like, occasionally 1; bracts 2 per fruit, enlarged in age, free to variously fused, generally compressed, generally sessile, falling with fruit (or not). Staminate flower: calyx lobes 3–5; stamens 3–5. Pistillate flower: calyx generally ± 0; stigmas 2. Seed: generally erect.
± 250 species: temperate to subtropics worldwide. (Latin: name derived from Greek) [Welsh 2003 FNANM 4:322–381] Generally in alkaline or saline soils; some weedy; some accumulate selenium. Bract descriptions refer to 2 bracts surrounding flower, enlarging in fruit. Australian Atriplex crassipes J.M. Black possibly in South Coast. In this revised taxonomy, Atriplex californica, Atriplex joaquinana moved to Extriplex, Atriplex covillei to Stutzia, both new genera [Zacharias & Baldwin 2010 Syst Bot 35(4):839–857]. Kranz anatomy (observable at 10 ×, sometimes only after scraping off scaly, mealy, or powdery layer) characterized by veins that are darker green than rest of leaf, due to higher concentrations of chloroplasts in bundle-sheath cells surrounding veins.

Key to Atriplex

1. Shrub or subshrub; main stem clearly woody

2. Leaf length generally > 5 × width, margins entire; fruit bracts together 4-winged or tips long, tubercles in vertical rows; branch tips not spiny

3. Fruit bract tips long, tubercles in vertical rows; shrub or subshrub 1–6 dm ..... A. gardneri var. falcata

3' Fruit bract together 4-winged from base to tip, tubercles 0; shrub 3–25 dm

4. Twigs generally slender; shrub 10–25 dm; leaves 10–35 mm, 1–3 mm wide; fruit bracts 4–8 mm, 4–6 mm wide ..... A. canescens var. linearis

4' Twigs generally not slender; shrub 3–20 dm; leaves 10–50 mm, 2–8 mm wide; fruit bracts 4–25 mm, 4–12 mm wide

5. Fruit bracts entire to dentate; widespread ..... A. canescens var. canescens

5' Fruit bracts irregularly to deeply sharp-dentate; s California

6. Plant generally 10–20 dm; fruit bract 6–12 mm, deeply sharp-dentate ..... A. canescens var. laciniata

6' Plant generally 3–15 dm; fruit bract 4–8 mm, irregularly dentate ..... A. canescens var. macilenta

2' Leaf length < 5 × width, margins entire to dentate; fruit bracts not 4-winged, tubercled or not; branch tips spiny or not

7. Branch tips not spiny

8. Leaf margin sharply dentate; shrub 3–10 dm; fruit bracts free — East of Sierra Nevada, Desert ..... A. hymenelytra

8' Leaf margin entire to wavy or irregular-sparsely dentate; shrub or subshrub <= 40 dm; fruit bracts free to fused above middle

9. Shrub or subshrub < 5 dm; branches ascending to erect; leaf sessile — South Coast, Western Transverse Ranges; stem prostrate ..... A. glauca

9' Shrub <= 40 dm; branches spreading to erect; leaf sessile to petioled

10. Plant < 15 dm; leaf blade narrowly elliptic to ovate, oblong to hastate ..... A. amnicola

10' Plant 8–40 dm; leaf blade ovate to deltate (± hastate)

11. Fruit bracts 4.5–9(12) mm, round to ± reniform, generally tubercled ..... A. nummularia

11' Fruit bracts 2–6 mm, ovate to round or ± spheric, smooth

12. Twigs generally smooth, not striate ..... A. lentiformis (2)

12' Twigs generally sharp-angled, striate ..... A. torreyi var. torreyi (2)

7' Branch tips spiny — generally stiffly spreading

13. Fruit bracts 5–20(24) mm, margins wide, leaf-like

14. Fruit bracts ± free, wide-elliptic to ± round, few-dentate proximally, entire distally ..... A. confertifolia

14' Fruit bracts fused ± to middle around fruit, entire and spheric proximally, compressed and irregularly dentate distally ..... A. spinifera

13' Fruit bracts 2–6 mm, margins not wide and leaf-like

15. Distal leaves generally sessile to clasping ..... A. parryi

15' Distal leaves generally ± sessile to short-petioled

16. Leaf blade oblong to narrowly oblanceolate, 2–4 mm wide ..... A. polycarpa

16' Leaf blade ovate to deltate or ± hastate, 10–50 mm wide

17. Twigs generally smooth, not striate ..... A. lentiformis (2)

17' Twigs generally sharp-angled, striate ..... A. torreyi var. torreyi (2)

1' Annual, perennial herb, or subshrub; main stem herbaceous to ± woody at base

18. Perennial herb to subshrub

19. Stem generally erect; leaves entire

20. Fruit bracts 2–3 mm, obovate; coastal ..... A. coulteri (2)

20' Fruit bracts 3–5 mm, obovate to fan-shaped to ± spheric, inland ..... A. fruticulosa (3)

19' Stem generally prostrate to decumbent; leaves entire to dentate, wavy-dentate, or crenate

21. Leaf bases long-tapered to short-petioled, entire to wavy-dentate, dentate, or crenate

22. Fruit bracts thin; leaves generally serrate ..... A. suberecta (2)

22' Fruit bracts spongy or fleshy; leaves entire to wavy-dentate

23. Fruit bract spongy ..... A. lindleyi (2)

23' Fruit bract fleshy, ± red ..... A. semibaccata

21' Leaves generally sessile, entire

24. Fruit bracts ± free, entire ..... Extriplex californica

24' Fruit bracts fused proximally to distally, entire to dentate or crenate

25. Fruit bracts dentate distally; leaves lanceolate to elliptic

26. Fruit bracts 2–3 mm, obovate; coastal ..... Atriplex coulteri (2)

26' Fruit bracts 3–5 mm, obovate to fan-shaped to ± spheric; inland ..... A. fruticulosa (3)

25' Fruit bracts entire to shallowly dentate throughout; leaves elliptic to ovate

27. Fruit bracts ± spongy, ± spheric; not mat-like ..... A. leucophylla

27' Fruit bracts thin, not spongy, ovate to diamond-shaped; generally mat-like ..... A. watsonii

18' Annual

28. Leaves generally green, glabrous to sparsely powdery or fine-scaly

29. Pistillate flowers of 2 kinds; fruit bracts wide-elliptic to ± round, smooth, net-veined; seeds vertical between bracts, or horizontal in calyx ..... A. hortensis

29' Pistillate flowers of 1 kind; fruit bracts generally not wide-elliptic to ± round, smooth to tubercled or ribbed, not net-veined; seeds vertical between bracts

30. Fruit bracts fused proximally, dentate distally; staminate flowers in clusters of elongated terminal spikes or panicles ..... A. serenana var. serenana (2)

30' Fruit bracts free to fused proximally, entire to dentate proximally; staminate, pistillate flowers mixed or staminate flowers in short spikes

31. Fruit bracts entire, ± round ..... A. micrantha

31' Fruit bracts entire to variously dentate, not ± round

32. Fruit bracts few-dentate to dentate

33. Leaves triangular-hastate; fruit bract surfaces generally tubercled ..... A. prostrata (2)

33' Leaves linear to triangular-ovate; fruit bracts smooth or 2-tubercled

34. Brown seeds elliptic, wider than long; fruit bracts smooth or 2-tubercled — leaves generally thickened, ± scaly ..... A. dioica

34' Brown seeds round; fruit bracts smooth ..... A. patula

32' Fruit bracts entire

35. Seeds of 1 kind; fruit bract ribbed — fruit bracts 2–4 mm; leaves narrowly elliptic to deltate ..... Extriplex joaquinana (2)

35' Seeds of 2 kinds; fruit bract not ribbed

36. Fruit bracts 4–12(25) mm, margins entire; leaves linear to lanceolate ..... Atriplex gmelinii var. gmelinii

36' Fruit bracts 3–7 mm, margins entire to finely dentate; leaves triangular-hastate ..... A. prostrata (2)

28' Leaves ± gray- or ± white-green, densely fine-scaly

37. Fruit bracts free to fused proximally — stem generally striate; fruit bracts ribbed; inflorescence spike- or panicle-like, terminal, dense ..... Extriplex joaquinana (2)

37' Fruit bracts fused ± proximally to near tip

38. Fruit bract widest proximally, generally ovate to deltate or diamond-shaped

39. Leaves coarsely wavy-dentate, distal entire — fruit bracts hard; leaves densely fine-scaly abaxially, ± green adaxially, red in age ..... Atriplex rosea

39' Leaves generally all entire

40. Stem 0–few-branched, ascending to erect, 1–8 dm; fruit bracts 2.5–5 mm

41. Base of proximal leaf blades rounded; fruit bracts 2.5–3.5 mm; s San Joaquin Valley (Kern Lake bed) ..... A. tularensis

41' Base of proximal leaf blades cordate; fruit bracts 3–5 mm; Great Central Valley ..... A. cordulata

42. Fruit bracts deltate-ovate, central tooth generally > others; Great Central Valley ..... var. cordulata

42' Fruit bracts deltate to fan-shaped, central tooth generally <= others; San Joaquin Valley ..... var. erecticaulis

40' Stem many-branched, prostrate to erect, < 4 dm; fruit bracts 1–4 mm

43. Fruit bracts 1–2 mm, entire, surfaces smooth; Great Basin Floristic Province — stems < 1.5 mm thick ..... A. pusilla

43' Fruit bracts 2–4 mm, entire to few-dentate, surfaces smooth or tubercled; Great Central Valley, South Coast, Peninsular Ranges

44. Staminate flower clusters terminal, pistillate flower clusters axillary ..... A. persistens (2)

44' Staminate flower clusters axillary, or staminate and pistillate flowers mixed, generally in axillary clusters

45. Stem woolly near tips; leaves generally opposite; South Coast, Peninsular Ranges ..... A. parishii

45' Stem glabrous to densely scaly near tips; leaves alternate or opposite; Great Central Valley, San Joaquin Valley

46. Leaves generally alternate; fruit bracts smooth; San Joaquin Valley ..... A. minuscula

46' Leaves generally opposite; fruit bracts generally tubercled; Great Central Valley

47. Fruit bracts generally tubercled on side facing stem ..... A. depressa

47' Fruit bracts generally tubercled on both surfaces — branches widely spreading ..... A. subtilis

38' Fruit bracts generally widest at middle or distally, fan- to wedge-shaped or ± round

48. Staminate flowers in terminal clusters, pistillate flowers in axillary clusters

49. Plant prostrate to decumbent; fruit bracts 1–1.5 mm ..... A. pacifica

49' Plant erect to decumbent (spreading); fruit bracts >= 2 mm

50. Plant < 3(5) dm; fruit bracts 3–5 mm; leaves entire

51. Leaves ovate to elliptic, 2–5 mm ..... A. persistens (2)

51' Leaves narrowly lanceolate to elliptic, 5–12(24) mm ..... A. fruticulosa (3)

50' Plant 3–10 dm; fruit bracts 2–3.5 mm; leaves irregularly dentate (entire) ..... A. serenana

52. Leaf blades 5–20 mm; staminate inflorescence spheric, short; s South Coast ..... var. davidsonii

52' Leaf blades 10–50 mm; staminate inflorescence spike or panicle, elongate; widespread ..... var. serenana (2)

48' Staminate flowers in axillary clusters, or staminate and pistillate flowers mixed, generally in axillary clusters

53. Fruit bracts spongy, 5–12 mm, obconic to ± spheric — s South Coast ..... A. lindleyi (2)

53' Fruit bracts not spongy, 2–6(8) mm, wedge-shaped to round, generally compressed, or if spheric, then densely tubercled

54. Fruit bracts round, crenate, ± dentate to cut ..... A. elegans

55. Fruit bracts deeply dentate to cut, teeth 0.5–1 mm wide ..... var. elegans

55' Fruit bracts minutely crenate to finely dentate, teeth 0.3–0.5 mm wide ..... var. fasciculata

54' Fruit bracts generally wedge-shaped to obovate or ± spheric, entire proximally, dentate distally

56. Fruit bract tip ± truncate to notched, 3–5-dentate — generally East of Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert, including edges ..... A. truncata

56' Fruit bract tip acute to rounded in outline

57. Leaf margin coarsely serrate ..... A. suberecta (2)

57' Leaf margin entire, wavy or flat

58. Leaf blade base ± obtuse to tapered; fruit bracts 2.5–6 mm, fused proximally ..... A. coronata

59. Fruit bracts 2.5–4 mm, ± 2.5–4 mm wide ..... var. vallicola

59' Fruit bracts 4.5–6 mm, 3–5 mm wide

60. Stem decumbent to ascending; fruit bracts together ± compressed, tubercles generally few, generally < marginal teeth ..... var. coronata

60' Stem ± erect; fruit bracts together ± spheric, tubercles dense, generally ± = marginal teeth ..... var. notatior

58' Leaf blade base generally ± hastate to tapering; fruit bracts 4–8 mm, fused to near tip ..... A. argentea

61. Stem decumbent to erect, 15–30 cm; fruit bracts sessile

62. Leaves sessile or proximal petioled; stems, leaves scaly, inflated hairs not elongate ..... var. hillmanii

62' Leaves generally sessile; stems, leaves, fruit bracts densely scaly, with elongate inflated hairs ..... var. longitrichoma

61' Stem erect, 30–80 cm; fruit bracts short-stalked

63. Distal leaves short-petioled; most proximal leaves alternate; Great Basin Floristic Province, Mojave Desert ..... var. argentea

63' Distal leaves sessile; most proximal leaves opposite; Great Central Valley, Central Coast, e San Francisco Bay Area, Southwestern California, Desert ..... var. expansa

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