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Atriplex canescens

Atriplex canescens (Pursh) Nutt.


Fourwing Saltbush, Four-winged Saltbush

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassCaryophyllidaeCacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts
OrderCaryophyllalesIncludes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants
FamilyAmaranthaceaeAmaranth family
GenusAtriplexAn ancient Latin name for this plant
SpeciescanescensCovered with short gray or white hairs

About plant names...

Four-wing saltbush is sometimes described, with tongue in cheek, as an “evergray” bush, owing to its drab appearance. It is a North American native plant.

Identification: These bushes are usually 24-48" (60-121 cm) high, rarely reaching 10' (3 m). Leaves are thin and grayish, almost like needles, but sometimes more oval in shape. They are ½-2" (1.3-5 cm) long. They are salt and drought tolerant. The seeds have an unusual shape, which explains the name “four-wing.” Male flowers are yellow, while female flowers are small and white.

Atriplex canescens (Fourwing Saltbush, Four-winged Saltbush)

Four-winged seeds from the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Edibility: Technically, all parts of this plant are edible, but not tasty. Saltbush accumulates salt in its tissues, using the salt to extract moisture from its surroundings.

Online References:

Atriplex canescens at Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and the Plants of the Sonoran Desert

Atriplex canescens at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Atriplex canescens on Wildflowers, Ferns & Trees of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah

Atriplex canescens at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Atriplex canescens on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Atriplex canescens on CalPhotos

Atriplex canescens on Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness

Atriplex canescens on eFloras

Atriplex canescens description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 15 Oct 2013.

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Atriplex canescens (Fourwing Saltbush, Four-winged Saltbush)

5/22/2009 · Wupatki National Monument, AZ
≈ 27 × 40" (67 × 101 cm)

Atriplex canescens (Fourwing Saltbush, Four-winged Saltbush)

8/26/2014 · Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center, Grants, NM
≈ 6 × 9" (15 × 23 cm)

Atriplex canescens (Fourwing Saltbush, Four-winged Saltbush)

8/29/2014 · Next to river boat ramp, NM

Atriplex canescens (Fourwing Saltbush, Four-winged Saltbush)

8/26/2014 · Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center, Grants, NM
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)


About this map...