Common Orache - Atriplex patula


    Medium to tall much branched plant, somewhat mealy with ridged stems. Leaves rather mealy, 3 to 14 cm arrow shaped or almost diamond shaped. Narrowed at the base, upper leaves much narrower. Flowers in long spikes or lateral clusters. Fruit enclosed within diamond shaped bracts.

    Similar Species

    Atriplex prostrata.  Other aliens species may occur, and if in doubt, the key in Stace (4th edn.) should be referred to.

    Goosefoots (Chenopodium) are quite similar, and young plants can be difficult to determine.  All Atriplex have the fruits enclosed by two enlarged bracteoles.

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Lower leaves lanceolate to trullate (widest nearest base and angled at the widest part, like a diamond shape but with two adjacent side sides longer than the other  two); cuneate, and usually with forwardly directed lobes at the base.  Bracteoles triangular to trullate and fused to about half way. 

    Recording advice

    Photos must show ripe fruits enclosed in bracteoles, and lower leaves


    Disturbed ground and waste places, cultivated land.

    When to see it

    July to October.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Common throughout most of Britain, except in some northern areas.

    VC55 Status

    Common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 516 of the 617 tetrads.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map