Atriplex leucophylla (Moq.) D. Dietr.

Beach Saltbush
Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot Family)


Beach saltbush is a densely white-scaly prostrate to decumbent perennial with many short decumbent to erect branches that is as its name indicates primarily a beach plant. It is often found on coastal strand and along the foredunes of Southern California's beaches along with such plants as beach morning glory, silver beach-bur, red sand verbena, beach primrose, sea-fig and sea rocket. Its many alternate leaves are sessile, elliptic to widely-ovate, ± rounded at the apex, and from 1/2" to 1" long, sometimes longer.  Beach saltbush, also known as seascale, is mostly a monoecious plant with male and female flowers on the same stems with the staminate flowers in terminal spikes and the pistillate flowers in small axillary clusters.  The staminate flowers are yellowish in color, and the pistillate flowers are composed only of a single pair of bracts surrounding the two-styled ovary.  The fruiting bracts of saltbushes are fairly distinctive and important for identification, and those of A. leucophylla are sessile, fused to the middle or above, somewhat spongy, entire to dentate above the middle, and with several warty projections or tubercles on each face.  Beach saltbush blooms from April to October.  These pictures were taken along the strand near the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center in Ventura.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Atriplex  2) leucophylla.
Pronunciation: AT-ri-plex loo-ko-FIL-a.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.



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