Plants of
South Australia
Atriplex vesicaria
Chenopodiaceae
Bladder Saltbush
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 14.

Etymology

Atriplex from the Latin 'atriplexum' meaning an orach, a saltbush, an Ancient Latin name for this plant. Vesicaria from the Latin 'vesicarius' meaning bladder-like or having a bladder, referring to then inflated fruit.

Distribution and status

Found scattered across South Australia except on Kangaroo Island and the South-east, growing in various habitats in drier areas, including coastal dunes, salt pans, salt lakes, sandy plains and limestone ridges. Also found in all mainland states. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, 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

A highly variable species with eight subspecies recognises in other states but not South Australia, where the subspecies tend to intergrade. Dioecious, erect or decumbent shrub to 1 m high. Leaves to 25 mm long and 15 mm wide, elliptic to oblong or obovate, acute, obtuse or rounded, usually entire, attenuate at the base, sparsely to densely scaly. Male flowers in dense clusters arranged in a terminal spike or panicle and female flowers with 2 to many in the upper axils. Flowering throughout the year. Fruiting bracteoles sessile or with a very short pedicel; valves free or fused to above the seed, orbicular to ovate-triangular or rhomboid, obtuse to mucronate, to 13 mm long and wide, entire or dentate towards the apex, cuneate to cordate at the base; appendages thin-walled and bladder-like, attached to the base of the valves or fused to one another below the bracteoles or to the bracteole margin, sometimes absent.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect ripe straw coloured fruits, check that they contain viable seeds. Fruits can be collected directly from the bush or from the ground underneath. Remove twigs and other plant material. 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. Seed viability can be high but seed availability can be low.

Seeds stored:
  Hide
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
4,200 (74 g)
4,200 (74 g)
100+1-Nov-2005DJD164
Eyre Peninsula
28-Jul-200665%-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.