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Genus Atriplex Family Chenopodiaceae

Description: Dioecious or monoecious herbs or shrubs.

Leaves alternate, flat, ± covered with vesicular hairs; the hairs burst when the leaf is still young, resulting in a glistening mealy indumentum.

Flowers either in terminal paniculate or spicate inflorescences or in axillary clusters, unisexual. Male flowers 5-merous, the 5 perianth segments usually covered with vesicular hairs. Female flowers without a perianth, consisting of 2 variously fused or free bracteoles with or without dorsal appendages.

Pericarp membranous, style branches 2, seed laterally compressed, mostly vertical.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: >250 species, Australia, America, Europe, Asia. Australia: c. 50 species, all States.

Text by S. W. L. Jacobs
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Long-lived perennial shrubs; frequently dioecious4
Annuals or short-lived perennials; monoecious2
2Fruiting bracteoles fused for less than half their length12
Fruiting bracteoles fused for more than half their length
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3
3Fruiting bracteoles with dorsal appendage(s)25
Fruiting bracteoles without dorsal appendages
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35
4Mostly dioecious, though some mixing of sexes may occur; woody perennials5
Plants usually monoecious; woody or herbaceous perennials
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10
5Shrub 1.5–3 m high, inland species only6
Shrubs to c. 1 m high, inland and coastal species
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7
6Foliage and stems with a bluish grey scaly sheen on all surfaces; bracteoles thickened and corky all overAtriplex rhagodioides
Foliage and stems grey-green,bracteoles thin and papery toward apical margin
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Atriplex nummularia
7Coastal species; fruiting bracteoles obtuse to acute, united to just below the middle, sometimes with a small base, lower central portion swollen or notAtriplex cinerea
Inland species; fruiting bracteoles with or without appendages, obtuse or acute, sessile or with a long stipe-like base
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8
8Delicate erect shrub to c. 1 m high; fruiting bracteoles with a stipe-like base more than 3 mm longAtriplex stipitata
Robust or spreading shrubs to c. 1 m high; fruiting bracteoles virtually sessile
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9
9Fruiting bracteoles with entire margins and usually with an appendage; appendage sometimes inflated and almost as long as the bracteole or reducedAtriplex vesicaria
Fruiting bracteoles lobed and without appendages
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Atriplex sp. B sensu Jacobs (1990)
10Fruiting bracteoles sessile or subsessile, more or less triangular, occasionally with spiny appendagesAtriplex velutinella
Fruiting bracteoles with an obvious stipe-like base; apex expanded, more or less fan-like; bracteoles with or without appendages
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11
11Fruiting bracteoles without dorsal appendagesAtriplex stipitata
Fruiting bracteoles with a reniform dorsal appendage
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Atriplex quinii
12Fruiting bracteoles with dorsal appendage(s)13
Fruiting bracteoles without dorsal appendages
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20
13Fruiting bracteoles with entire margins or 3-lobed but otherwise entire14
Margins of fruiting bracteoles with more than 3 teeth
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18
14Fruiting bracteoles more than 6 mm long15
Fruiting bracteoles less than 6 mm long
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16
15Fruiting bracteoles sessile or subsessile, more or less triangularAtriplex velutinella
Fruiting bracteoles with a hardened stipe-like base
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Atriplex acutibractea
16Fruiting bracteoles both with numerous papillate appendagesAtriplex papillata
Fruiting bracteoles at most with two small tooth-like appendages on one or both bracteoles
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17
17Fruiting bracteoles broader than longAtriplex acutiloba
Fruiting bracteoles longer than broad or as long as broad
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Atriplex semibaccata
18Bracteole teeth usually 5Atriplex acutiloba
Bracteole teeth more than 5
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19
19Fruiting bracteoles sessile, leaves elliptic or broad- elliptic to obovateAtriplex fissivalvis
Fruiting bracteoles with stipe-like base 0.5–1.5 mm long, leaves lanceolate to narrow-obovate
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Atriplex spinibractea
20Margins of fruiting bracteoles with more than 3 teethAtriplex spinibractea
Margins of fruiting bracteoles entire or 3-lobed
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21
21Fruiting bracteoles rhombic, apex triangular22
Fruiting bracteoles broad-triangular
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23
22Plant prostrate; fruit solitary or few together, axillaryAtriplex semibaccata
Plant erect; fruit in dense clusters in terminal spike-like inflorescences
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Atriplex patula
23Inland short-lived perennial; leaves ovate or rhombic; fruiting bracteoles 6–9 mm longAtriplex velutinella
Coastal annuals (rarely short-lived perennials); leaves hastate or ovate; fruiting bracteoles less than 6 mm long
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24
24Plant decumbent; leaves and fruit glaucous; inflorescence usually c. 20–30% of plantAtriplex australasica
Plant erect; leaves green, fruit dark green; inflorescence usually c. 50% of plant
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Atriplex prostrata
25Fruiting bracteoles with a stipe-like base more than 1 mm long26
Fruiting bracteoles sessile or with a stipe-like base less than 1 mm long
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30
26Fruiting bracteoles broadest c. midway upAtriplex spinibractea
Fruiting bracteoles broadest at the top
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27
27Dorsal appendages larger than the free portion of the bracteoleAtriplex limbata
Dorsal appendages smaller than the free portion of the bracteole
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28
28Appendages reniform, 1 on each bracteoleAtriplex quinii
Appendages tooth-like, 1 or 2 on one bracteole only
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29
29Leaves petiolate, spreading; appendages 2 on one bracteoleAtriplex eardleyae
Leaves sessile, erect; appendages 1 or 2 on one bracteole or absent
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Atriplex pseudocampanulata
30Fruiting bracteoles less than 3 mm long31
Fruiting bracteoles more than 3 mm long
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32
31Apex of fruiting bracteoles acuteAtriplex infrequens
Apex of fruiting bracteoles truncate
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Atriplex elachophylla
32Dorsal appendages large, inflated33
Appendages small, tooth-like
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34
33Central lobe of apex longer than the two lateral lobes, c. as long as the inflated baseAtriplex nessorhina
All 3 terminal lobes more or less equal, much shorter than the inflated appendage
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Atriplex morrisii
34Fruiting bracteoles broadest at the base, broad-triangularAtriplex acutiloba
Fruiting bracteoles broadest around the middle, rhombic
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Atriplex semibaccata
35Fruiting bracteoles spongy, inflated36
Fruiting bracteoles neither spongy nor inflated
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38
36Apex of bracteoles flattened, with wing-like marginsAtriplex lindleyi
Apex of bracteoles rounded, no wing-like margins
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37
37Leaves sessileAtriplex spongiosa
Leaves petiolate
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Atriplex holocarpa
38Fruiting bracteoles with hardened stipe-like base39
Fruiting bracteoles sessile or shortly stalked, sometimes hardened but without an obvious hardened stipe-like base
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46
39Fruiting bracteoles at least twice as broad at apex as elsewhere40
Fruiting bracteoles cylindrical or broadest at the middle
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44
40Fruiting bracteoles more than 6 mm long41
Fruiting bracteoles less than 6 mm long
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43
41Fruiting bracteoles almost as broad as long (about two-thirds as broad as long), upper free portion of bracteoles usually with recurved lobes (rarely the lobes reduced)Atriplex angulata
Fruiting bracteoles about half as broad as long, upper portion of bracteoles fan-shaped
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42
42Stipe-like base of fruiting bracteoles swollen and hardenedAtriplex intermedia
Stipe-like base of fruiting bracteoles hardened but not swollen
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Atriplex turbinata
43Fruiting bracteoles 3.5 mm long or lessAtriplex crassipes
Fruiting bracteoles more than 3.5 mm long
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Atriplex pseudocampanulata
44Fruiting bracteoles broadest at the middleAtriplex spinibractea
Fruiting bracteoles more or less cylindrical
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45
45Fruiting bracteoles less than 4 mm long; leaves obovate, to 15 mm longAtriplex sturtii
Fruiting bracteoles more than 4 mm long; leaves oblong to linear-lanceolate, may be more than 15 mm long
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Atriplex leptocarpa
46Fruiting bracteoles spreading at the apex to form a broad, terminal, more or less flat wing more than 5 mm diamAtriplex macropterocarpa
Fruiting bracteoles various but not forming a broad, flat, terminal wing
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47
47Fruiting bracteoles less than 3 mm long48
Fruiting bracteoles more than 3 mm long
                       Back to 46
51
48Fruiting bracteoles acute with a central acute lobe, lateral lobes present or absent49
Fruiting bracteoles more or less truncate; lobes, if present, more or less equal
                       Back to 47
50
49Fruiting bracteoles with lateral lobes and with a vertical thickened zoneAtriplex lobativalvis
Fruiting bracteoles rhombic, without lateral lobes, not obviously thickened
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Atriplex infrequens
50Fruiting bracteoles not obviously thickened, tapering gradually into the truncate, unlobed to 3-lobed apexAtriplex pumilio
Fruiting bracteoles with swollen, hardened base surmounted by a small lobed apex
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Atriplex elachophylla
51Fruiting bracteoles more than 8 mm long, flattened dorsiventrallyAtriplex conduplicata
Fruiting bracteoles less than 6 mm long, more or less swollen
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52
52Fruiting bracteoles more or less rhombic, no obviously thickened zone, though sometimes succulent and redAtriplex semibaccata
Fruiting bracteoles with a globose thickened zone surmounted by a lobed apex
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53
53Apex of fruiting bracteoles obtuse, all teeth more or less equal in length; leaf apex obtuseAtriplex muelleri
Apex of fruiting bracteoles acute, with one tooth more prominent; leaf apex acute to obtuse
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Atriplex suberecta

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