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Atriplex halimus

Plants growing-on in our nursery and available soon - reserve now
In stock
Product Details
Plant Type: Small shrub
Aspect: Full sun, exposed sites & coastal areas
Foliage: Silvery-grey ovate leaves to 5 cm long
Flower colour: Insignificant
Flowering period: Summer
Size - height & spread : 150 cm x 250 cm
Soil type/requirements: Dislikes wet areas, requires good drainage
Water requirements (established plants): Low, seasonal rainfall
Native Distribution: Mediterranean area of Europe and North Africa. Portugal

Atriplex halimus is an evergreen halophytic shrub that grows up to 2 metres high and 2-3 metres wide. It is widely distributed in arid and semi-arid regions throughout the Mediterranean Basin, North and East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It is also known by the common names of sea pulsane, , sea orache, shrub orache, and silver orache, and is associated with coastal wetlands, but in dry or sandy soils. It is also hardy and can withstand frost (-5 and -10°C) but not when associated with wet soil conditions.

The dense, silvery-grey ovate leaves are the main feature of this plant, as the flowers, which appear in June and July, are of little garden interest. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by wind.

Atriplex halimus prefers unimproved, well-drained, poor soils and will not tolerate wet or fertile conditions, although it will grow well in very sandy soils. This is a plant that thrives in exposed locations, preferring full sun and will not do well in shade where it will quickly become weak and leggy, but if these criteria are met it is easy to grow. The growth habit is multi-stemmed and it makes a good hedge, responding well to pruning and shaping.

More Details

The leaves are both edible and used as fodder for grazing animals, particularly sheep and goats, and it is often grown as fodder on marginal land because of its tolerance to severe drought conditions, growing well in very alkaline and saline soils. In addition, A. halimus is a useful crop for improving these degraded and marginal lands because it contributes to the improvement of phytomass (total plant biomass), thereby helping to protect and improve the soil. It has a deep root system, which helps to stabilise the soil and reduce soil erosion, and the plant is an important contributor to functioning ecosystems, as reflected in its promotion of soil biota (the enormous diversity of organisms, including microorganisms (i.e. bacteria, fungi) and soil fauna (microscopic and macroscopic animals)).

As well as being a food crop for mammals and arthropods, it is also used as a salad and leaf vegetable in many parts of the world.

Imagem da espécie Atriplex halimus
Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, Atriplex halimus kz7, size, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, Atriplex_halimus_kz2, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, Atriplex_halimus_kz09, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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