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Annual Sea Purslane

Atriplex pedunculata

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Amaranthaceae (Amaranth)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Saltmarshes, seaside.

Green, 5 petals
Flowers are leafless, appearing in branched spikes.
The fruit is an achene.
A low, mealy annual flower with greyish-green foliage. The leaves are untoothed and elliptic.
Other Names:
Pedunculate Sea-purslane, Stalked Orache, Stalked Saltbush.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Atriplex pedunculata, commonly known as stalked orache or stalked saltbush, is a species of flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia, but it is also found in other parts of the world as an introduced species. The plant is known for its small, green flowers that bloom in the summer, and its fleshy, oblong leaves that are edible and high in vitamins and minerals. The plant forms a low growing or bushy rosette of leaves that can reach up to 2 meters tall and wide, it can grow as an annual or perennial depending on the location. It is considered as a hardy and versatile plant, it can tolerate a wide range of soils and conditions, and it is tolerant of drought and salt. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It is also used as an ornamental plant, as a source of food for wild animals, and it is also used in traditional medicine.


Annual Sea Purslane, also known as Atriplex pedunculata, is a plant that is commonly found in coastal regions, particularly in the western parts of North America. It is an annual herb that belongs to the Amaranthaceae family and grows up to a height of about 2 meters. The plant has fleshy, succulent leaves and stems that help it to survive in dry and salty environments.

The leaves of the Annual Sea Purslane are smooth, oval-shaped, and light green in color. The plant blooms from late summer to early fall, producing tiny greenish-yellow flowers that grow in clusters on long, slender stems. The fruits of the plant are small and dry, containing one seed each. The seeds are dispersed by the wind and can remain viable for many years.

One of the unique features of the Annual Sea Purslane is its ability to thrive in harsh environmental conditions, such as salty soil and drought. The plant has adapted to these conditions by developing a shallow root system that allows it to absorb nutrients and water from the soil quickly. The fleshy leaves of the plant store water, allowing it to survive for long periods without rainfall.

The Annual Sea Purslane has several uses, both medicinal and culinary. The plant is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, making it useful in treating skin infections and other ailments. The plant's leaves can be used in salads or cooked as a vegetable, and the seeds can be ground into a flour for baking.

Despite its many uses and unique adaptations, the Annual Sea Purslane is facing several threats, including habitat loss due to urbanization and agriculture. Additionally, climate change is also affecting the plant's habitat, as rising temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns make it difficult for the plant to survive.

Conservation efforts are needed to protect the Annual Sea Purslane and other coastal plants from these threats. Coastal ecosystems are vital for maintaining biodiversity and providing essential ecological services, such as carbon storage and coastal protection. By preserving these ecosystems, we can ensure that plants like the Annual Sea Purslane continue to thrive and contribute to the health of our planet.

In addition to its medicinal and culinary uses, the Annual Sea Purslane also has ecological significance. The plant is an important food source for various animals, including birds and insects. The fleshy leaves provide a source of moisture and nutrients for herbivores, while the seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals. As a result, the Annual Sea Purslane plays a crucial role in the coastal food chain.

Furthermore, the Annual Sea Purslane is also useful in soil conservation. Its shallow roots help to prevent soil erosion, especially in areas with high winds or tidal activity. The plant's ability to tolerate salt also makes it useful in stabilizing coastal dunes, which are important in protecting inland areas from storm surges and sea level rise.

Efforts are being made to protect the Annual Sea Purslane and other coastal plants. One such effort is through habitat restoration, where damaged coastal ecosystems are restored to their natural state. This involves removing invasive species, planting native plants, and restoring natural water flows. By restoring these habitats, we can provide a safe haven for the Annual Sea Purslane and other coastal plants to grow and thrive.

Another way to protect the Annual Sea Purslane is through education and awareness. By educating the public about the importance of coastal ecosystems and the threats they face, we can encourage individuals to take action to protect these habitats. This can include reducing our carbon footprint, supporting conservation organizations, and advocating for policies that protect coastal habitats.

There are a few interesting facts about the Annual Sea Purslane that are worth mentioning. For example, the plant is also known by several other names, including sea orache, seaside saltbush, and ocean purslane. In some cultures, the plant is considered a delicacy and is used in traditional dishes.

Another interesting fact is that the Annual Sea Purslane is not actually a seaweed, as many people believe. Although it is commonly found in coastal areas, it is a flowering plant and not a type of algae. However, its succulent leaves and stems do give it a seaweed-like appearance.

The Annual Sea Purslane also has a rich history in indigenous cultures. The plant was traditionally used for food, medicine, and other purposes. For example, the plant's seeds were ground into a paste and used to make bread, while the leaves were used to treat skin infections and other ailments. The plant was also used in ceremonies and as a symbol of fertility and abundance.

Finally, it is worth noting that the Annual Sea Purslane is just one of many coastal plants that are facing threats due to human activities and climate change. By protecting these ecosystems and the species that depend on them, we can ensure a healthy and sustainable future for our planet.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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