Chenopodiaceae Atriplex confertifolia

Atriplex confertifolia

Atriplex confertifolia

Family: Chenopodiaceae – Goosefoot Family

Woody shrubs; 11.8” to 2.6' (3 to 8 dm) tall

Leaves: alternate; small; simple; grey or bluish; entire; 0.36” to 1” (9 to 25 mm) long, 0.16” to 0.8” (4 to 20 mm) wide

Flowers: male and female flowers found on separate plants (dioecious); small and inconspicuous and in clusters; male (staminate) flowers yellow have 0 petals, 3 to 5 sepals; 3 to 5 stamens; female (pistillate) flowers have 0 petals; 1 pistil, 1 to 3 stigmas; 2 styles; pair of bracts; flowers in clusters 0.08” to 0.16” (2 to 4 mm) wide; pistillate flowers without a perianth and the pistil naked or rarely with a perianth, commonly enclosed within a pair of bracts

Pollinators: wind; not self-fertile

Fruits: utricles – small 1 seeded fruit with a thin wall; large number of seeds that persist

Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April

Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities; characteristically grows on halophytic (salty) and gravelly, fine-textured soils

Location seen: Delicate Arch Viewpoint, outside Arches National Park near mouth of Courthouse Wash and Colorado River bridge, outside Arches National Park on Corona Arch trail

Other: The genus name, “Atriplex”, is the Latin name for the plant and the species name, “confertifolia”, means “with flowers pressed together” referring to the tight floral clusters.

Plants in this family are generally weedy, but beets and spinach are members of this family. The family is called the goosefoot family because the leaf shape may look like a goose's foot.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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