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Big Saltbush
Atriplex lentiformis
  
About Big Saltbush (Atriplex lentiformis) 30 Nurseries Carry This Plant Atriplex lentiformis is a species in the Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot) family known by the common names Big Saltbush and Quail Bush. It is native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where it grows in habitats with saline or alkaline soils, such as salt flats and dry lake beds, coastline, and desert scrub. It can also be found in nonsaline soils on riverbanks and woodland. This is a spreading shrub reaching one to three meters in height and generally more in width. It is highly branched and bears scaly or scurfy gray-green leaves up to 5 centimeters long and often toothed or rippled along the edges. This species may be dioecious or monoecious, with individuals bearing either male or female flowers, or sometimes both. Male flowers are borne in narrow flower clusters up to 50 centimeters long, while flower clusters of female flowers are smaller and more compact. Plants can change from monoecious to dioecious and from male to female and vice versa. This saltbush species and Atriplex canescens are the host plants for the Saltbush Sootywing and Pygmy Blue butterflies. This plant is used to revegetate riparian habitat in its native range. In the Lower Colorado River Valley and Gila River valleys of southwestern Arizona, southeastern California, and northwestern Mexico Big Saltbush can reach 3.5 meters (11 feet) in advantageous growing locales. The maximum height occurs where a groundwater source supplies virtually unlimited moisture; soil conditions are optimal for the quailbush, and other plants lose in competition, though arrowweed, tamarisk, and tumbleweeds are competitors; also mesquite.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Shrub

Size
Size
3.3 - 10 ft tall
10 ft wide

Form
Form
Upright, Mounding, Rounded

Growth Rate
Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate

Dormancy
Dormancy
Evergreen

Flower Color
Flower Color
Yellow, Brown

Flowering Season
Flowering Season
Summer

Wildlife Supported
 
Various butterflies and birds, especially quail and thrashers

Landscaping Information
Sun
Sun
Full Sun

Moisture
Moisture
Low

Summer Irrigation
Summer Irrigation
Max 2x / month once established

Nurseries
Nurseries

Ease of Care
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Cold Tolerance
Cold Tolerance
Tolerates cold to 15° F

Soil Drainage
Soil Drainage
Medium

Soil Description
Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils, especially alkaline. Tolerates Saline Soil,Tolerates Sodic Soil. Soil PH: 7.0 - 9.0

Common uses
Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Hedges, Butterfly Gardens, Bird Gardens

Companion Plants
Companion Plants
This plant is not often used in small residential gardens but is very useful on larger acreage and in restoration projects, especially where the soil is alkaline and there is subsurface water. Use with native grasses such as Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia sp.), Arrow Weed (Pluchea sericea), Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa or pubescens), Desert Thorn (Lycium sp.), Alkali Goldenbush (Isocoma acradenia), and willows (Salix sp.).

Natural Setting
Site Type
Site Type
Alkaline or saline washes, dry lakes, alkali sinks, and shadscale scrub; also sometimes found in grasslands or coastal sage scrub

Climate
Climate
Annual Precipitation: 2.5" - 38.1", Summer Precipitation: 0.12" - 1.77", Coldest Month: 33.8" - 63.3", Hottest Month: 62.6" - 89.6", Humidity: 0.91" - 43.88", Elevation: -230" - 6825"

Alternative Names
Common Names: Quail Bush, Quailbush


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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