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Atriplex spinifera

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About Mojave Saltbush (Atriplex spinifera) Atriplex spinifera is a species of saltbush known by the common names spiny saltbush and spinescale saltbush. It is endemic to California, where it grows in dry habitat with saline soils, such as salt flats. Its distribution includes the Mojave Desert, the Central Valley, and surrounding mountain ranges. This is a grayish or whitish brambly shrub with erect branching stems growing to a maximum height near 2 meters. The tangled branches are stiff and tipped with spiny points. The leaves are oval in shape and less than 3 centimeters in length. The shrub is dioecious, with male and female individuals. The male flowers are small clusters in the leaf axils. The female flowers are solitary or borne in small clusters, and are enclosed in scaly leafs which become spherical as the fruit grows within.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3.5 - 7 ft (1.1 - 2.1 m)

Flower Color

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Saline flats, dry lakes


Elevation ?
92' - 5287'

Annual Precip. ?
3.4" - 22.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.13" - 1.16"

Coldest Month ?
40.0° F - 53.4° F

Hottest Month ?
68.6° F - 81.8° F

Humidity ?
1.72 vpd - 35.61 vpd

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Common uses
Hedges, Bird Gardens

Other Names
Common Names
Spiny Saltbush, Spinescale Saltbush

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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