Spear-leaved Orache - Atriplex prostrata


    Spreading, prostrate to erect, medium tall plant. Green mealy when young often reddening with age. Leaves arrow shaped generally not mealy, with the basal lobes at right angles to the stalks. Flowers in fairly dense panicles, leafy below. Fruits enclosed in triangular toothed bracts.

    Similar Species

    Atriplex patula.  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 triangular or spear-shaped. Bracteoles fused at base only, for less than a quarter of the way.

    Recording advice

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


    Arable land, waste places, disturbed ground, coastal habitats and shingle. Often by roadsides, in the salt-splash zone

    When to see it

    July to October.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Quite common in England south of the Humber, coastal elsewhere.

    VC55 Status

    Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 238 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