Size: Up to 10 feet (3.04 m) with adequate water table.
Growth Form:Shrub; usually wider than tall, many branches, branches are more or less cylindrical without grooves or ridges, mostly covered with minute soft erect hairs, occasionally spiny, glabrous as the plants mature; branches spreading or ascending
U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: In North America Atriplex lentiformis has the following wetland designations: Arid West, FAC; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FAC.
FAC = Facultative, occur in wetlands and non-wetlands.
Genus Information: In North America there are over 110 species and 124 accepted taxa overall for Atriplex. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 258 accepted species names and a further 350 scientific names of infraspecific rank for the genus.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 25 species of Atriplex, California has 51 species, Nevada has 27 species, New Mexico has 21 species, Texas has 21 species, Utah has 35 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.
There are 2 sub-species in Atriplex lentiformis;
Atriplex lentiformis ssp. breweri, Quailbush, (CA);
Atriplex lentiformis ssp. lentiformis, Big Saltbush, (AZ, CA, NV, UT).
Comments: Quailbush is the largest and considered by some to be the showiest saltbush species in Arizona. The plants are readily browsed by cattle as the forage is palatable. Hybridization is known between this species and A. canescens.
Big saltbush provides excellent forage and protection (cover) for several wildlife species including Mule Deer and Proghorn. Evidence shows that Big Saltbush foliage and seeds will be eaten by rabbits and small rodents and deer mice ate its seeds. Gorden W. Gullion, 1964, reports that Big Saltbush was utilized by ring-necked pheasants and Gambel's Quail.
It is used to some extent by livestock.
The U. S. Forest Service has an excellent site with detailed information about Quailbush on-line at: Fire Effects Information System (FEIS).
Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies, Birds and Insects
Emory Oak, Quercus emoryi is a host plant for the following butterfly caterpillars: - Find out more from Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA).
The genus "Atriplex" originated in Latin (derived from the Greek name "atraphaxes" or atriplex. The name was applied to the "edible oraches" (the common name of Atriplex is saltbush and orache). The species epithet "lentiformis" is from "lentiform" or lentiformis meaning lens-shaped or shaped like a lens, respectively, referring to the fruits of the plant.
Quailbush has been used for food and traded by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
Cahuilla Drug, Cold Remedy, Nose Medicine, Food, Porridge, Other Soap, Dried leaves smoked for head colds; fresh leaves chewed for head colds; Crushed flowers, stems and leaves steamed and inhaled for nasal congestion, seeds ground into a flour and used to make mush or small cakes, crushed leaves and roots used as a soap and rubbed into articles for cleaning.
Papago Food, Unspecified, Seeds used for food.
Pima Drug, Dermatological Aid, Dried Food, Food, Porridge, Starvation Food, Other, Soap, Poultice of powdered root applied to sores, seeds roasted, dried, parched and stored, seeds pit roasted, dried, parched, added to water and eaten as a thick gruel, seeds pounded into meal, cooked, mixed with water and eaten as mush, tiny seeds formerly roasted and eaten during famines, leaves rubbed in water and lather and used for washing clothing and baskets, seeds used as 'starvation food', seeds used for food.
Yuma Food, Porridge, Seeds boiled to make a mush. seeds pounded, pit baked, ground, mixed with water to form stiff dough and eaten raw.
See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.