Atriplex hortensis (Garden Orache) - photos and description

Two plants growing next to one another in above photo




Two types of fertilized flowers:  a - without bracteoles;  b - with bracteoles 

Two types of fertilized flowers in above photo

Arrow pointing to male flower in above photo

Many male flowers in above photo

General: Annual plants with an erect or spreading growth habit. Stems angled. Foliage is glabrous to scurfy.

Flowers: Inflorescence are axillary and terminal glomerules. Male flowers are five-parted, very small 2 mm in diameter. Female flowers of two types. One type has a five-parted calyx and no bracteoles. The other type has the female flower subtended by two bracteoles of various sizes - the bracteoles are large and round in profile. We measured a large bracteole at 19 mm long by 18 mm wide, and a more typical-sized bracteole was 12 mm long by 10 mm wide.

Leaves: Lower leaves opposite, upper leaves alternate. Leaves in a variety of shapes: from oblanceolate with a truncate base, with entire margins and a rounded apex; to ovate with a hastate base, wavy margins and a more acute apex. We measured a large leaf at 13.5 cm long by 11.5 cm wide.

Height: Height is listed in Budd's Flora to 120 cm, we measured plants to 235 cm tall (7 ft 8 in).

Habitat: Disturbed soil around towns and cities.

Abundance: Common.

Origin: Introduced.

How to identify this species of Atriplex: 1) Bracteoles round and large - with many bracteoles measuring 10 mm long. Note in our experience the bracteoles grew larger as the summer went on - larger in September than in August. 2) Two types of female flowers: one type has a five-parted calyx and no bracteoles, the other type as the female flower subtended by two bracteoles of various sizes

When and where photographed: Took the above photos on August 23rd and September 7th, Wascana Park, in Regina, SK, and September 8th, on disturbed soil near a storm channel in southeast Regina, SK.