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Atriplex L.: saltbushAuthor(s): Susan E. Meyer
Source: In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., eds. The Woody Plant Seed Manual. Agric. Handbook No. 727. Washington, DC. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. p. 283-290.
Publication Series: Agricultural Handbook
Station: Washington Office
PDF: Download Publication (336.0 KB)
DescriptionThe genus Atriplex L. - saltbush - is cosmopolitan in distribution and comprises about 250 species of annual and perennial herbs, subshrubs, and shrubs (McArthur and Sanderson 1984). Most species are halophytic (at least to some degree) and occupy salt desert, coastal strand, or saltmarsh habitats. Shrubby species are important in arid and semiarid regions throughout the world, with centers of diversity in south central Asia, Australia, temperate South America, and western North America. Western North America is an area of particularly high genetic diversity, with more than 20 principal species of shrubs and subshrubs as well as countless hybrids and variants; 12 of these species are described here (table 1). The genus is in a state of active evolution in the Intermountain region (Stutz 1978, 1984). The drying up of Pleistocene lakes 10,000 or so years ago opened up vast areas of unexploited salt-desert habitat. Shrubby saltbush species migrated in rapidly from several directions and hybridized freely, giving rise to the rich complex of forms in the region today.
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CitationMeyer, Susan E. 2008. Atriplex L.: saltbush. In: Bonner, Franklin T.; Karrfalt, Robert P., eds. The Woody Plant Seed Manual. Agric. Handbook No. 727. Washington, DC. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. p. 283-290.
KeywordsAtriplex L., saltbush
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