Plants of
South Australia
Atriplex stipitata
Kidney Saltbush
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 6.


Atriplex from the Latin 'atriplexum' meaning an orach, a saltbush; an Ancient Latin name for this plant. Stipitata from the Latin 'stipatatus' meaning stalked

Distribution and status

Grows in mallee and woodland in drier parts of South Australia, north of the Murray River. Also found in all mainland states. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty
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

Erect shrub to 1m high. Leaves bitter tasting, narrow-elliptic to orbicular, to 20mm long with a scaly sheen on both surfaces. Male and female flowers on same plant. Inflorescence a spike; male flowers and females can also form panicles in the leaf axils. Flowering occurs all year, depending on rainfall. Fruits are pale-brown flat, papery fruit to 22mm long with a long stipe-like base; the upper part of the bracteoles flat, spreading, with recurved lobes, 10 mm wide. Seeds are pale brown, reniform seed to 2mm long and 1.5mm wide. Seed embryo type is peripheral.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect fruits that are starting to turn pale-brown, drying off and papery. 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 clean 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 90%.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
2,800 (2.29 g)
2,800 (2.29 g)
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.
Germination table: