Big Saltbush

Atriplex lentiformis

Pen & Ink © by Michael Plagens

FRUIT: Scale-shaped nutlet has fine teeth or crenulations along its margin.

LEAVES: Grayish-green leaves are triangular to elliptic up to a few centimeters long. Scaly hairs impart a powdery/mealy texture.

SHRUB: A medium to very large shrub often bearing an abundance of seeds that weighs over the branch tips.

RANGE: Common through much of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona especially near rivers and areas that are occasionally flooded (e.g. bolsons, salt pans). Areas near agriculture and irrigation ditches often support large quailbushes.

FLOWERS: Spikes of greenish-yellow male flowers are borne above the clusters of greenish female flowers which only become apparent once the seeds begin development. Pollen becomes airborne and may be of concern to hay fever sufferers.

ARMED (LIGHTLY): The main stems have short, stiff twiglets that can function as thorns, although they are not really sharp.

Chenopodiaceae -- Goosefoot Family

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 12 Nov 2006,
updated 5 March 2022.