four-wing saltbush Chenopodiaceae Atriplex
canescens (Pursh) Nutt. symbol: ATCA2
Leaf: Evergreen, alternate, linear to narrowly oblong, entire, 1/2 to 2 inches long, gray-green and scruffy, often very sparse.
Flower: Species is dioecious; males and females a drab yellow-brown, both occur in axillary and terminal panicles, appear in summer.
Fruit: A light green, ripening to light brown utricle in tight spike-like clusters, with papery bracts forming 4 wings, ripen in fall and persist for up to 2 years.
Twig: Slender, light gray-green, new twigs with fine gray hairs.
Bark: Light gray-brown, older stems can become very irregularly furrowed.
Form: A small to large multi-stemmed and heavily branched shrub. A large amount of variation exists across the population. On poor sites reaches 3 to 5 feet in height, on better sites it may reach up to 15 feet with and even greater crown spread. Large amounts of dead wood often accumulate beneath and within the crowns.
Looks like: shadscale - hopbush - gray rabbitbrush - blackbrush
Additional Range Information: Atriplex canescens is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting four-wing saltbush.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson