An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

WRIGHT SALTBUSH

Illustration

GOOSEFOOT FAMILY-Chenopodiaceae

WRIGHT SALTBUSH-Atriplex wrightii Wats.

DESCRIPTION-A tall robust annual with somewhat woody roots, reproducing only by seeds. The stems are erect, sometimes bushy, and branched from the base or branching above only, 2 to 4 feet high. The mature leaves, conspicuously silvery beneath from meallike particles, and bright green above, are broadest above the middle, with the tip blunt or somewhat pointed. They are alternate, 3/4 to 3 inches long, and 1/4 to 1 inch broad, with the edges smooth, wavy, or toothed.

The male flowers are in short dense spikes on conspicuous leafless branches, 2 to 12 inches long, at the top of the stems. Each seed is permanently enclosed between a pair of greenish or yellowish bracts. These bracts are somewhat fan- shaped, or broadly triangular, about 1/12 inch broad, with 3 to 7 short irregular teeth across the top. The faces are strongly ribbed, with or without very short knoblike projections.

DISTRIBUTION-This native saltbush is common in alkaline and disturbed soil throughout Arizona, particularly in the southeastern part. It is found in the same type of places as wheelscale saltbush; 100 to 7,000 feet elevations; flowering April to October.

AUSTRALIAN SALTBUSH-Atriplex semibaccata R. Br.

DESCRIPTION-A silvery, much branched perennial, reproducing only by seeds. The stems are somewhat woody at the base, reclining or prostrate, and 1 to 3 feet long. The leaves, similar to those of Wright saltbush, usually have several small teeth along each edge. The bracts enclosing the seed are diamondshaped, fleshy, reddish at maturity, 1/8 inch in diameter, and have 2 to 5 small teeth near the 2 corners.

DISTRIBUTION-Introduced from Australia, this plant has escaped cultivation, and become a common weed in southern Arizona. Valuable (like all saltbushes) as livestock forage, and also as a soil binder, it has spread into cultivated fields and become a pest in some areas.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents



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