Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Four-wing Saltbush, Shadscale, Wing-scale, Salt Sage
Atriplex canescens

Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Atriplex (AT-ry-pleks) (Info)
Species: canescens (kan-ESS-kens) (Info)

Synonym:Atriplex angustior
Synonym:Atriplex berlandieri
Synonym:Atriplex fruticosa
Synonym:Atriplex heterophylla
Synonym:Atriplex occidentalis

One vendor has this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)
8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)
over 9.1 (very alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By Happenstance
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There are a total of 26 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive hnz57txn On Oct 29, 2008, hnz57txn from Kaufman, TX wrote:

Great plant for a xeriscape landscape. I encountered the plant while visiting Albuquerque this year for Balloon Fiesta 2008. Over the course of a week I observed many creatures using this plant for cover and forage.
I for one did not mind shooing the bunnies and quail from under the car at 4am to go chase balloons.
I have done more research into the plants of the southwest and can't wait to try the Salt Bush foliage for a yellow die.

Neutral frostweed On Dec 2, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Four-wing Saltbush, Shadscale, Wing-scale, Salt Sage Atriplex canescens is native to Texas and other States.

Positive hellnzn11 On Jul 6, 2006, hellnzn11 from Rosamond, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love love love it, if you live in a alkaline,clay infested soil, this plant is a jewel. It is so pretty, it`s like a big bushy,multi trunked, dusty miller colored, fast growing,evergreen, ( in my area),... beauty. I can`t find them now where I got them before.

Positive angele On May 10, 2005, angele wrote:

I love this native plant. The seed pods hang on through the autumn and provide gorgeous fall colors!

Positive Happenstance On May 22, 2004, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Evergray shrub, 5ft, gray leaves, native to dry areas of the western U.S. , very drought tolerant after a few good waterings.

The whole plant is edible: seeds can be ground into meal, young shoots used as greens, burned leaf ashes used as baking powder. Useful as gray screen, alkali tolerant, ground cover or specimen, very good bird plant. Cage the plant until the foliage reaches 3-4ft if you have deer or rabbits.

Atriplex is from arid environments and has a C4 photosynthetic pathway which is generally a more efficient way for the plant to conserve water, will defoliate under extreme drought, salts accumulated in leaves allows them to extract water from the soil other plants cannot.They need to be under some form of water stress, either drought, salt, or salt spray. The Atriplex species tolerate and remove the excess salts by bladders in leaves which act as salt sinks and keep the salt from the plant cells. When old leaves are shed or eaten the salt is removed from the plant.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Cameron, Arizona
Clarkdale, Arizona
Page, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Safford, Arizona
Tonto Basin, Arizona
Clayton, California
Encinitas, California
Long Beach, California
Rosamond, California
Boise, Idaho
Reno, Nevada
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Elephant Butte, New Mexico
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
San Antonio, Texas
Joseph, Utah

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