Atriplex micrantha (Russian Atriplex) - photos and description






Bracteoles on Sep. 4th, note there are bracteoles of 2 sizes




General: Annual with an erect growth habit, often branching at the base. Stems and leaves are farinose (mealy), otherwise plants are glabrous. Stems angled.

Flowers: Plants are monoecious (separate male and female flowers on the same plant), flowers grow in terminal and axillary glomerules. Male flowers have 5 stamens arranged in a star pattern. Female flowers are subtended by two bracteoles. The bracteoles are orbicular, and grow in two sizes which we measured at on September 4th: larger bracteoles at 6 mm long by 6 mm wide, and, smaller bracteoles at 3 mm long by 3 mm wide.

Leaves: Alternate, triangular with two basal lobes, base of leaves are truncate to slightly cuneate, the apex is acuminate (gradually tapering to a sharp point). We measured a leaf mid-stem with a blade 50 mm long by 52 mm wide and with a petiole 13 mm long; we measured an upper leaf at 47 mm long by 35 mm wide and with a petiole 12 mm long. Leaves are thick and have a rubbery feeling.

Height: Height listed in Flora of Alberta to 150 cm, we measured plants to 97 cm tall.

Habitat: Roadsides and waste ground.

Abundance: Rare.

Origin: Introduced.

How to identify this species of Atriplex: 1) Leaves triangular, usually with two basal lobes, 2) bracteoles orbicular in two sizes, the larger sized bracteoles 6 mm long by 6 mm wide, 3) the bracteoles do not have tubercles. Several guides note that the bracteoles of Atriplex micrantha have veins which merge at the base of the bracteole. I could not see this in the field using a 10X loupe, and I don't think this characteristic is apparent in the above macro shots I've taken of the bracteoles - there's some swelling in the centre of the bracteoles, but no veins. My macro shots above of the bracteoles were taken September 4th, maybe veins show themselves later in September as the bracteoles age further.

Synonym: Listed in several of the field guides we use as Atriplex heterosperma.

When and where photographed: The above photos were taken August 23rd and September 4th muddy edge of pond, disturbed ground, Wascana Park in of our home of Regina, SK.