Monday, March 23, 2015

Saltbush

Atriplex
A genus of mostly evergreen shrubs that are native to mostly dry regions around the world. Many species are valuable as cover for wildlife where few other options are available. Many other species are great for hedging.
Many are tolerant of extreme drought, seashore conditions and salty soils. Most can be cut back hardy, responding with dense, vigorous growth. Propagation is from seed or softwood cuttings. Seed should be soaked overnight in water before sowing.

Atriplex barklayana
An evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 1.5 x 4 feet, that is native to Baja California.
The leaves, up to 1 inch in length, are whitish.
Hardy zones 10 to 11.

Atriplex canescens ( Fourwing Saltbush )
A long-lived, fast growing, dense, medium-sized, evergreen shrub, rarely reaching up to 7 x 15 feet, that is a widespread native to dry regions of western North America ( from eastern Washington State to Drumheller, Alberta to central North Dakota; south to northern Mexico including the Baja Peninsula ). A form found at Jericho, Utah is much more tree-like, reaching a maximum size of 15 x 18 feet. Some records include: 3 years - 6.6 x 15 feet; largest on record - trunk diameter of 10 inches. It is very deep rooted, with root known to reach 40 feet in depth though rarely over 20.
The linear leaves, up to 2 x 0.4 inches in size, are gray. It is an important plant for browsing livestock.
The natives made bread from grinding the seeds.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 ( tolerating -40 F ). It is extremely heat tolerant and very tolerant of drought, salt, sand, clay, alkaline soil and brackish water. It requires 8 to 24 inches of average yearly rainfall or equivalent. Plants may take up to 4 years to establish and speed up in growth.

* photo taken by Loren St. John @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


'Marana'
A form released by the USDA that is especially well adapted to the Mediterranean climate regions of southern California with average yearly rainfall ranging from 8 to 4o inches. It is otherwise identical to the species.

* Photos courtesy of USDA NRCS.


Atriplex cinerea ( Coast Saltbush )
A dense, evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 5 x 10 feet, that is native to coastal regions of southern Africa and Australia.
The leaves, up to 2 inches in length, are blue-green.
Hardy zones 9 to 10 in full sun on pure sand.

Atriplex halimus
A fast growing, spreading, evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 13 x 10 feet, that is native to salt marshes of southern Europe. Some records include: 5 years - 13 feet.
The oblanceolate leaves, up to 2.5 inches in length, are silvery-white.
The greenish-white flowers are borne on spikes, up to 12 inches in length, during late summer.
Hardy zones 7 to 10.

Atriplex lentiformis ( Big Saltbush )
A moderate growing, deciduous or evergreen shrub, reaching up to 10 x 12 ( rarely over 8 ) feet, that is native to the southwestern U.S. ( from north-central California to central Nevada to southwest Utah; south to Mexico.
The ovate, triangular or oblong leaves are up to 2.5 x 1 inches in size.
The fruits provide valuable food for wildlife.
Tolerant of heat, wind, salt and alkaline soils. It requires 7 to 24 inches of average yearly rainfall.

* USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


var 'Breweri'
A fast growing, evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 12 x 15 feet, that is native to coastal California.
The foliage is deeper silvery-green than the species.
Hardy zones 6 to 10 ( tolerating as low as -20 F ). It requires 7 to 24 inches of average yearly rainfall.

'Casa'
An especially drought hardy, attractive form selected by the USDA. Fast growing, dense and upright in habit, reaching up to 12 x 12 feet.
The foliage is silvery-green.
Hardy zones 8b to 10.

* Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.


Atriplex polycarpa ( Desert Saltbush )
An evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 7 x 6 feet, that is native to the southwestern U.S. ( from central California to central Nevada to southwest Utah; south to Mexico ).
The leaves are up to 0.5 inches in length, are silvery-white.
Hardy zones 7 to 10. It is extremely tolerant of drought and alkaline soils. It is also tolerant of wet soil. It requires an average yearly rainfall of 3.5 to 10 inches.

Atriplex semibaccata
A fast growing, evergreen shrub, reaching a maximum size of 2.5 x 7 feet, that is native to Australia.
The smooth to lightly-toothed, oblong leaves, up to 1.5 inches in length, are gray-green.
Hardy zones 7 to 10. It is tolerant of salty, highly alkaline and wet soil. It requires an average yearly rainfall of 8 to 16 inches.

'Corto'
A low groundcover form, reaching just 10 inches in height. It is a USDA introduction. Hardy zones 8b to 10 ( tolerating as low as 15 F ).

* Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.


Atriplex spinifera
A dense, evergreen shrub, reaching up to 6.5 x 6.5 feet, that is native to California.
The leaves, up to 1 inch in length, are gray.
Hardy zones 7 to 10. It requires an average yearly rainfall of 2 to 6 inches and a soil PH from 7 to 9. It is very salt tolerant and extremely drought tolerant.

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