Plants of
South Australia
Atriplex australasica
Native Orache
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.


Atriplex from the Latin 'atriplexum' meaning an orache, a saltbush, an Ancient Latin name for this plant. Australasica means of or from Australasia.

Distribution and status

Found mostly in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges and Murray regions, with scattered records on York Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and South-east, growing in blackish soil near the coast. Also found in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Spreading to erect annual shrub to 1 m high, with quadrangular branches. Lower leaves lanceolate with a cuneate base and margin entire to deeply serrate, often hastate with forwardly directed lobes to 10mm long. Flowers along a long spike, first continuous and later in disjunct clusters. Flowering between January and April. Fruits are fruit deltoid, acute to 4 mm long and wide, united in the lower half or free to the base, entire or with 1 or 2 teeth; smooth or with a warty surface, becoming black and thickened with age. Seeds are dark brown, circular convex seed to 2 mm long and wide. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between May and July. Collect fruits that are starting to dry or and turn brown. Fruits can be collected directly from the bush or from the ground underneath. Place the fruits in a tray and leave to dry for one to two weeks. No cleaning is required if only the fruits are collected. The seed can be stored in the fruit or can be cleaned further. Rub the fruit gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 100%.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
42,000 (38.1 g)
42,000 (38.1 g)
Southern Lofty
1-Aug-2007100%+5°C, -18°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.