West Highland Flora

Spear-leaved Orache


Atriplex prostrata agg

Taxonomic note: Here taken to include A glabriuscula and A praecox, both of which occur on Skye as well as A prostrata sensu stricto.  The species of this group are all inter-fertile and many populations are made up of plants intermediate between two or more of the species (Flora Europaea 1964)  It seems best therefore to regard the whole complex as one very variable aggregate.  (2005 - I now intend at some point to create a page for each of the 3 currently recognised species)

Atriplex prostrata agg

Photo Carl Farmer
1 Aug 2002 Portree, Skye

Common on shores, from above the tideline to well below it.  Also occurs away from the sea in mainland Britain, I don't know if this is true on Skye.

Bracteoles enclosing the fruit 3-12 mm long

ID: Lower leaves are triangular in shape with a pointed lobe at each lower corner. Leaves higher up the stem are narrower and make a narrower angle at base.

Other features: Very variable, from large leafy green plants above the tideline to small prostrate red plants further down the shore than any other flowering plant, and often with every kind of intermediate present.

 

  Atriplex prostrata agg

Photo Carl Farmer
1 Aug 2002 Portree, Skye
 

 
 

Typical example of plant found well below the tideline in otherwise bare shingle

 
     
     
     
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