Atriplex patula

A small weedy plant with a spreading stem

Atriplex patula common orache

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneously

This Eurasian alien weed is likely to be overlooked as a wildflower. It is a member of the amaranth family. It is an annual herb, one of 7 or 8 species of orache in Eastern North America. It was probably introduced in the 18th century and has spread across much of the United States except parts of the deep south. It is a small weed plant, usually with a spreading stem two to three feet long. The leaves are triangular and often covered with a reddish powdery meal. The lower teeth on the leaves point outwards. 

The whitish-green flowers are produced on short interrupted spikes in the leaf axils. The orache is a pioneer species, one of the first to grow on disturbed ground. It is salt-tolerant and can be found in salt marshes, and along roadsides.

It blooms from June to November. It propagates by seed, with each plant producing from 100 to 6,000 seeds. These may remain viable in the soil for up to one hundred years. In herbal medicine, an extract from this plant mixed with alcoholic spirits is used to treat headache and arthritis pain. It is also known by the common names: spear saltbush, common orache, spear orache, spreading orache, and wild orache.

Contributed by: Mark Welchley

Grows in rich soils, usually in waste grounds.

Mostly found in the south of the state.

Wetland codes

Flowers June to November.

S-rank: No rank
G-rank:  G5 (Secure)

Atriplex patula common orache

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneously
Atriplex patula gallery
Plant Life-Form
annual forb
Common Names
common orache saltbush halberd-leaf orache