Atriplex canescens

Atriplex canescens, Four-wing Salt Bush
City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico
May 20, 2020

Four-wing Salt Bush, Atriplex canescens, is found in much of the western United States (see BONAP map below) and southward to southern Mexico.  Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness notes that “The silvery appearance of the leaves is not due to hairs, but rather due to a covering of flaky scale-like structures, almost like dandruff.”   (See photo on the following page.)  This species readily hybridizes with others in its genus, cau sing some disagreements about specific specimens.  In the case of the type specimen for this species there is the following from Flora of North America:

“Materials from the vicinity of the type locality of the species in South Dakota are low subherbaceous plants that differ from our shrubby tall material. However, the type area is presently covered with water from a dam on the Missouri River, and it is not possible to exclude the possibility of A. canescens as it has been interpreted for the past century to have existed at that site during the Lewis and Clark Expedition, if that is indeed where the lectotype was collected.”

© Robert Barnes 2018