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Atriplex watsonii

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About Matscale (Atriplex watsonii) Atriplex watsonii is a species of saltbush known by the common name Watson's saltbush, or Watson's orach. It is native to the coastline of California and Baja California, where it grows in areas with saline soils, such as salt marshes and beach scrub, with other salt-tolerant plants such as saltgrass. This is a gray-green to whitish perennial herb with tangled slender stems under a meter in length. It grows in mats up to 3 meters wide. The thick, fleshy, crusty leaves are up to 2.5 centimeters long and generally oval in shape. The plant is dioecious, with individuals bearing either male or female flowers. The male flowers grow in clusters or long spikes, and the female flowers can be found in small clusters in the leaf axils.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
3.3 ft (1 m)

Flower Color

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dunes, salt marshes,


Elevation ?
-23' - 8133'

Annual Precip. ?
7.8" - 21.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 1.47"

Coldest Month ?
28.4° F - 57.6° F

Hottest Month ?
56.2° F - 80.3° F

Humidity ?
0.94 vpd - 27.33 vpd


Landscaping Information
Common uses
Bird Gardens

Other Names
Common Names
Watson's Saltbush, Watson's Orach

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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