Atriplex Species, Mountain Spinach, Purple Orach, Red Orach

Atriplex hortensis

Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Atriplex (AT-ry-pleks) (Info)
Species: hortensis (hor-TEN-sis) (Info)
Synonym:Atriplex acuminata
Synonym:Atriplex atrosanguinea
Synonym:Atriplex benghalensis
Synonym:Atriplex heterantha
Synonym:Atriplex microtheca
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage

Foliage Color:



36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:




Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Seaside, California

Sunol, California

Wahiawa, Hawaii

Twin Falls, Idaho

Bellaire, Michigan

Sheridan, Montana

Boise City, Oklahoma

Enterprise, Oregon

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Austin, Texas

Payson, Utah

New Haven, Vermont

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 5, 2012, lizardbreath from Boise City, OK (Zone 6a) wrote:

I planted this last year and have an explosion of babies coming up everywhere in my garden area already. It is a good thing my family loves these leaves in salad and will be harvesting all the young plants that are in places they don"t belong before we move on to the ones that have popped up in the beds made for them.
These plants are very attractive in the garden and add wonderful color to salads. However, this year I will be more careful to cut them back before they all go to seed.


On Oct 8, 2011, mrstoad from Enterprise, OR wrote:

Magenta Orach! This spectacular plant showed up one year in the soil near my roof's run -off, probably brought there as a seed by a migrating spring bird. Its deep redish purple leaves seemed almost neon and imediately caught my eye. I carefull saved the seeds that winter after noting it disliked being transplanted, and much to my delight as well as bewilderment, it sprang up every where as soon as the soil allowed. Since our area has numerous noxious weeds I was a bit apprehensive about its intrusive nature. But its color was so appealing and so unusual. I decided to keep my new arrival in check and under wraps showing it only to those who happened to peer over my fence. It was certainly an eye grabber. My husband found a picture of it - Magenta orach or mountain spinach, in Mother Earth... read more


On Apr 15, 2011, grovespirit from Sunset Valley, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Ornamental edible.
Not a true spinach, despite current trend of using common name 'Red Spinach' to describe it.

This is a spinach relative, in the same plant family as spinach.
Being in the same family as spinach doesn't make it a true spinach, because lots of different plants are in this Chenopodiaceae family, including lambsquarters and Epazote.

This plant is used as a spinach substitute, and with lovely red to purple foliage, also as an ornamental.


On Jul 30, 2010, AlanK from Calgary,
Canada wrote:

OMG, I live in Calgary, Alberta, not famed for a fabulous climate and this plant grows like crazy. I would call it invasive if left unchecked. I just let it self seed in the fall and it starts coming up in March. The seedlings can survive our wild spring weather and will withstand below freezing weather, it's not uncommon for nighttime lows of -10C here in the spring.
I haven't tried eating it but will one day.


On Jun 1, 2010, kiwi66 from Richmond, CA wrote:

Besides being extremely pleasant to look at (trying to see what the 'flower' looks like I brought a 6-pack of this at East Bay Nursery in Berkeley, CA and man this thing is about 3 feet already in a half-wine barrel and I have eaten it and it is amazing... I am mad about spinach and this is apparently a spinach but it has 3X the amount of vitamin C and has a peppery taste... very pleasant, growing great...


On May 16, 2008, MistyPetals from North Augusta, SC wrote:

This plant is said to be easy to grow and grows to 3 feet in height.