Common Orache - Atriplex patula


"Atriplex patula is a ANNUAL growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in). It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind, insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil." [PFAF]

Status Exotic [E-flora]

"General: Annual herb from a taproot; stems erect or ascending, simple or branched, 5-80 cm tall." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Leaves: Lower leaves opposite, upper leaves alternate, stalked or stalkless, 1-10 cm long, lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, 2-4 cm wide, rounded at the base, smooth or toothed, upper leaves green below, others covered with a whitish mealy substance above and below when young, but becoming glabrous and greenish with maturity." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Flowers: Inflorescence of terminal or axillary spikes or panicles; pistillate bracteoles somewhat basally thickened at maturity, the largest bracteoles somewhat diamond-shaped, margins united almost to the middle, lateral teeth present, densely compressed in the inflorescence, more or less uniform in size, 3-6 mm long." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Fruits: Membranous pericarps; seeds erect, 1.5-2.5 mm long." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat/Range Mesic roadsides, waste places and gardens in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in S BC; probably introduced from Eurasia." [IFBC-E-flora]


Most reports say that no member of this genus contains any toxins and that all have more or less edible leaves. However, one report says that if very large quantities are eaten they can cause photosensitivity [70]. If plants are grown with artificial fertilizers they may concentrate harmful amounts of nitrates in their leaves. [PFAF]

Edible Uses

Other Uses

Soap: The roots, which contain saponins, were beaten in water as a soap substitute. [Schofield]

Medicinal Uses

Historical Usage

Nutritional Information

Common OracheAtriplex patula [Turner, Kuhnlein]

Part:LeavesPer 100 g fresh weight
Water (g)92 Riboflavin (mg) 0.13


"Succeeds in full sun in any well-drained but not too fertile soil[200]. Prefers a rich soil. Tolerates saline and very alkaline soils[200]."[PFAF]


"Seed - sow April/May in situ[134]. Germination is usually rapid."[PFAF]



  1. [E-flora] Accessed Dec 9 2014
  2. PFAF - Atriplex patula,, Accessed Sept 12, 2017

Page last modified on Thursday, January 10, 2019 6:20 AM