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Bakersfield Smallscale Back to Plant Page
Atriplex tularensis

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About Bakersfield Smallscale (Atriplex tularensis) Atriplex tularensis is an extremely rare species of saltbush known by the common names Bakersfield smallscale, Tulare saltbush, and Tulare orach. Atriplex tularensis is endemic to Kern County, California, where it is known only from a few individuals at Kern Lake, a usually dry ephemeral lake bed just north of the Interstate 5 and Highway 99 split. These plants may actually be representatives of Atriplex serenana, and it is possible that A. tularensis is in fact extinct. The plants are endemic to the alkali soils of the local occasionally flooded salt pan. Much of the land in the San Joaquin Valley was claimed and altered for agriculture and the water table dropped, making conditions too dry for reproduction of many species, including this Atriplex. The small lakebed where this species may be extant was formerly tended by The Nature Conservancy, but it is now privately owned. Atriplex tularensis is an erect, reddish-green or grayish annual herb growing up to 80 centimeters tall. The leaves are up to 3 centimeters long and oval to lance-shaped. Leaves and stem branches are white-scaly and tough. The male and female flowers are small, hard clusters. The female fruit-producing flowers have associated bracts which end in a sharp point. This characteristic differentiates A. tularensis from Atriplex cordulata, which is otherwise very similar in appearance. A. tularensis is listed as an endangered species on the California state level, but not on the federal level.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Annual herb

Max. Height
0.33 - 2.6 ft (0.1 - 0.8 m)

Flower Color

Native Status
Natural Setting
Elevation ?
284' - 551'

Annual Precip. ?
6.1" - 7.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.17" - 0.20"

Coldest Month ?
51.0° F - 51.6° F

Hottest Month ?
77.2° F - 78.7° F

Humidity ?
4.50 vpd - 27.78 vpd

Landscaping Information
Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Other Names
Common Names
Tulare Saltbush, Tulare 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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