Grass-leaved Orache - Atriplex littoralis

    Description

    Medium to tall, much branched, erect plant. Leaves are linear to linear oblong, the uppermost unstalked. Flowers in a long spike leafy only at the base. Fruit enclosed within triangular, toothed bracts.

    Similar Species

    Atriplex patula and 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 linear or narrowly lanceolate, more or less parallel-sided and without basal lobes. Bracteoles fused only at base.

    Recording advice

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

    Habitat

    Often coastal, but spreading inland on well salted roads.

    When to see it

    Flowers July to October.

    Life History

    Annual.

    UK Status

    Widespread around the coast of Britain, more scattered inland, but probably increasing.

    VC55 Status

    Uncommon in Leicestershire and Rutland - the first record came from Houghton on the Hill in 1998. It was not recorded in the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    Map key:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records:

    • RED = 2020+
    • DARK BLUE = 2015-2019
    • LIGHT BLUE = pre 2015

    UK Map