SPEAR-LEAVED ORACHE

HASTATE ORACHE

Atriplex prostrata

Goosefoot Family [Amaranthaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8yellow
 
inner
inner8green
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ5
tepals
type
typeZclustered
 
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8angular
 
stem
stem8ribbed
 
sex
sexZdioeciousORsexZmonoecious
 

22nd June 2010, Kirkhead End, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
Very young plants which probably get washed by the sea most days. They have spear-shaped leaves.


2nd July 2009, sandy shore, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The leaves also have two wings each side at their base directed outwards at about 90° (never slanted upwards).


22nd June 2010, Kirkhead End, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
The leaves of Oraches (Atriplex)are usually in opposite pairs (whereas those of the similar Goosefoots are not so rigorously in opposite pairs, with many just single)


21st Sept 2013, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fruits of Oraches are enclosed by two clasping bracteoles (whereas those of Goosefoots are cheese or onion shaped and cupped by 5 sepals).


21st Sept 2013, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Fruits in small multiple clusters especially at the ends of stems cupped by leaf-like isosceles-triangled bracteoles (which are either 'entire' (no teeth on the edges), or knobbly on the edges and/or also knobbly on the two external faces. Here plain, entire and un-knobbly.


21st Sept 2013, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Some stems may be angular (square, or as here with more than 4 facets) with edges which may be reddened. Several un-knobbly and mostly entire fruits visible here.


21st Sept 2013, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The larger spear-shaped objects are normal leaves. The smaller rhombic or triangular objects (here some have teeth) on the edges are the fruits. The seed within each is cupped by two paired, clasping leaf-like bracteoles (the external parts visible here - the seed within is hidden).


21st Sept 2013, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The pairs of bracteoles each side of the (hidden) seed are here slightly ajar on some of the fruits.


10th Oct 2015, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Many fruits littering the sand beneath the plant, having dropped off.


0th Oct 2015, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
the shape of the fruits vary a bit. The two paired bracteoles are joined (aka hinged) very close to the base. They were attached to the plant by the small bump in the middle of the otherwise flat base.


0th Oct 2015, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Looking at the fruit at the bottom, they were attached at the small (reddened here) bump in the middle of the flat base. The two halfes are hinged at this flat base (these two features taken together are one of a number of identifying features of Spear-leaved Orache). Another is the shape of the fruits as a whole (averaged over several).


0th Oct 2015, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The two bracteoles forced apart, and broken at the 'hinge'. The seed (nestled within the top bracteole) nestles near the base of the fruit.


22nd June 2010, Kirkhead End, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
Not all leaves conform to the specified shape either.


22nd June 2010, Kirkhead End, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
Leaves might be covered in white 'frosty' bits.


22nd June 2010, Kirkhead End, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria Photo: © RWD
The 'frosty' bits of a leaf up closer.




THE RED FORM

This particular specimen also has much knobblier fruit

Photo: © RWD
Stems and fruits suffused reddish-pink, apart from the spear-leaved green leaves (which are edged in red)


21st Sept 2013, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Stems angular/ribbed. Leaves become lanceolate higher up, as usual in Oraches.


21st Sept 2013, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The shapes of the fruits are typically of this species of orache.


21st Sept 2013, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fruits are distended/bloated in the middle of the bracteoles.


21st Sept 2013, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
With knobbly protrusions.


21st Sept 2013, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


21st Sept 2013, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


21st Sept 2013, sandy shore, Marshside, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


Many similarities to : Goosefoots (Chenopodium species) but they lack bracteoles.

Easily mistaken for : Common Orache (Atriplex patula) but that has lower leaves which have a triangular base with the lobe each side directed at ±45° upwards and outwards and the bracteoles may have a short stalk (unstalked on Spear-leaved Orache)

Easily mis-identified as : Babington's Orache (Atriplex glabriuscula) but that grows only near the sea and always has bracteoles which are spongy at their base (rather than just sometimes with Spear-leaved Orache) and those bracteoles are shaped a little like the Ace of Spades. (rather than basically isosceles-triangular).

Hybridizes with :

No relation to : Spear-leaved Willowherb (Epilobium lanceolatum) [a plant with similar name].

Spear-leaved orache is an annual plant which grows up to 1m in length, either erect or procumbent. The lower leaves (which often fall off when fruiting) are triangular in shape, often with a truncate base (cut off at right-angles) but with a lobe each side directed outwards. The leaves can have wavy edges on the triangular part.

The isosceles-triangular shaped bracteoles are in overlain pairs and contain the seed between them. They are joined only at the base of the triangle and attached to the stems of the plant by a small protrusion half-way along the base. The fruit may feel spongy if squeezed in the base. The bracteoloes are either entire or dentate on their edges. The bracteoles are betwen 2 and 6mm (up to 8mm) and are sessile (lack stalks) - but they are attached by a slight bump in the centre of the base. They are usually without 'horns' or bumps (botanically 'tubercles') on their surface, but can have them.

They are unisexual with separate male and female flowers on the same plant.

It is native and grows in waste places, roadsides, cultivated fields often in saline places when inland, but usually near the sea, occurring throughout most of the British Isles.


  Atriplex prostrata  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Amaranthaceae  

Distribution
 family8Goosefoot family8Amaranthaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Atriplex
Atriplex
(Oraches)

SPEAR-LEAVED ORACHE

HASTATE ORACHE

Atriplex prostrata

Goosefoot Family [Amaranthaceae]