Plants of
South Australia
Atriplex holocarpa
Pop Saltbush
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 9

Prior names

Senniella spongiosa var. xylocarpa

Senniella spongiosa var. holocarpa

Atriplex spongiosa var. holocarpa


Atriplex from the Latin 'atriplexum' meaning an orach, a saltbush, an Ancient Latin name for this plant. Holocarpa from the Greek 'holo' meaning entire or whole and 'karpos' meaning fruit, referring to the undivided fruit.

Distribution and status

Found throughout South Australia except on Kangaroo Island and the South-east, growing on flood plains or sandy flats. Also found in all mainland states. Native. Common in South Australia. Rare in Victoria. Common in the other states..
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Small rounded annual or short-lived shrub to 30 cm high, monoecious. Leaves thin, scurfy on both surfaces with leaf-blade deltoid to narrow-rhomboid to 30 mm long; apex acute; base obtuse; margin sinuate to serrate. Flowers in axillary clusters. Flowering between June and October. Fruits are creamy globular to ovoid, spongy fruit to 12 mm long. Seeds are brown, flat reniform seed to 5 mm long and 5 mm wide. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between September and December. Collect fruits that have started to dry and turn pale. Check for viable seed inside the fruit before collecting. Spread fruits in a tray and leave to dry for 1-2 weeks. No further cleaning is required if only fruits are collected. The seed can be stored in the fruit or cleaned further. Rub the fruit gently by hand to dislodge the seeds and use a sieve to separate unwanted material. Store seeds in a dry cool place.