Atriplex spinosa
(Spiny Hopsage)
[(Hook.) Collotzi]

Subclass: Caryophyllidae
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Chenopodiaceae
Family Description: Goosefoot

Key Characteristics:
  • young herbage and branches are scurfy or pubescent with small stellate hairs
  • oblanceolate, 1-2.5 cm long, entire, gradually narrowed to a petiole-like base
  • pollen flowers 2-5 per cluster, subtended by one bract, bracts are leaf-like on lower flowers, becoming smaller toward the apex,
  • 4 perianth lobes are shorter than to longer than the stamens
  • Pistillate flowers in small spikes subtended by small bracts which increase in size as the fruit matures

General Description:
Erect, grayish-barked shrub, 3-12 dm tall, much branched, often twigs are spiny; herbaceous parts scurfy; evergreen leaves spatulate to oblanceolate; fruiting bracts most often reddish, varying to greenish-white

East of the Cascades - Eastern Washington southward to southern California and Arizona eastward to southwest Montana, Western Colorado and Wyoming.

Grows in alkaline soil areas.

Some members of this genus are used as flavoring, ashes for a substitute for baking powder, to color cornmeal, achenes can be ground into meal; evergreen leaves make it a valued landscaping plant.

Important State References:
No information available at this time
Photos and Information written by Dr. Karl E. Holte,© 2002