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Atriplex griffithsii
(Griffith's saltbush)

[taxon report][distribution map][all photos][line drawing]



Family: Chenopodiaceae

Scientific Name: Atriplex griffithsii Standley

Synonyms: Atriplex lentiformis (Torrey) S. Watson ssp. griffithsii (Standley) Hall & Clements; A. lentiformis var. griffithsii (Standley) L. Benson; A. torreyi S. Watson var. griffithsii (Standley) Brown

Vernacular Name: Griffith's saltbush

R-E-D Code: 1-2-2

Description: Gray-green shrub to 1 m tall, much-branched; leaves short-petiolate or sessile, elliptic-ovate to narrowly oblong, about 1-2 cm long, grayish with a fine scurf; plants unisexual, the flowers in small clusters in more or less profuse terminal panicles; staminate perianth 4- or 5-cleft, minute; pistillate flowers without perianth; fruiting bracts broadly heart-shaped, flat or convex on sides, united at base, 4-5 mm long, 4-6 mm wide. Flowers August and September.

Similar Species: The common four-wing saltbush, A. canescens, is the only other large shrubby saltbush in the area. Its fruiting bracts have four well-developed wings.


Distribution: New Mexico, Luna and Hidalgo counties; southeastern Arizona, Cochise County.

Habitat: Saline playa margins where plants are not submerged for long periods of time.

Remarks: This shrub is common on playa margins within its area of geographic distribution, acting as a seral species in disturbed areas. It is not known whether the species is present in similar habitats in adjacent Mexico. The species was not treated in Martin and Hutchin's, A Flora of New Mexico.

Conservation Considerations: Many Atriplex provide excellent forage in arid lands. There is no information as to the forage value of this species or how it responds to intensive browsing.

Important Literature (*Illustration):

*Carter, J.L. 1997. Trees and shrubs of New Mexico. Mimbres Publishing Co., Silver City, New Mexico.

*New Mexico Native Plants Protection Advisory Committee. 1984. A handbook of rare and endemic plants of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

*Wagner, W.L. and E.F. Aldan. 1978. Manual of the saltbushes (Atriplex spp.) in New Mexico. General Technical Report RM-57. USDA-Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Information Compiled By: Richard Spellenberg, 1999

Agency Status:
Taxon USFWS State of NM USFS BLM Navajo Nation Natural Heritage NM Global Rank
Atriplex griffithsiiSoCSoC...S2G2G3


Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
©2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council