Atriplex Species, Four-Wing Saltbush, Salt Sage, Shadscale, Wing-Scale

Atriplex canescens

Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Atriplex (AT-ry-pleks) (Info)
Species: canescens (kan-ESS-kens) (Info)
Synonym:Atriplex berlandieri
Synonym:Atriplex fruticosa
Synonym:Atriplex heterophylla
Synonym:Atriplex macropoda
Synonym:Atriplex occidentalis




Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:



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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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(2 reports)

Chimayo, New Mexico

Elephant Butte, New Mexico

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

San Antonio, Texas

Joseph, Utah

Saint George, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Sandy, Utah

Santa Clara, Utah

South Jordan, Utah

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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.


On May 10, 2005, angele wrote:

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


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... read more