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Frosted Orache

Atriplex laciniata

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Amaranthaceae (Amaranth)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Beaches, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside.
Tiny green flowers which grow in dense clusters. The flower clusters are borne in the leaf axils.
The fruit is an achene.
A silvery coloured annual plant with mealy, diamond-shaped leaves. Leaves are toothed.
Other Names:
Cut-leaved Orache.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Atriplex laciniata, commonly known as Cut-leaved Orache, is a species of saltbush from the Amaranthaceae family. It is a perennial plant that typically grows to be around 30-100 cm tall. It has a bushy habit, and the leaves are deeply lobed or cut and are green or gray-green in color. The flowers are small, inconspicuous and greenish-white and are produced in dense spikes or panicles. This plant is commonly found in saline soils, salt marshes, and alkali flats, it is tolerant to salt and drought. It is also used as a forage plant and it is considered as a weed in some parts of the world. It is also used as a soil conservation and reclamation plant in saline soils. Due to its tolerance to salt, it is also planted along coastlines to help prevent coastal erosion.


Frosted Orache, also known as Atriplex laciniata, is a hardy, perennial plant native to western North America. It belongs to the family Chenopodiaceae, which includes many other plants that are commonly known as saltbushes. Frosted Orache is characterized by its gray-green, oblong leaves that are deeply lobed and covered in fine white hairs, which give the plant a frosted appearance.

Frosted Orache grows best in sandy or loamy soils and can tolerate drought and high salinity levels. It typically grows in open, disturbed areas such as fields, pastures, and along roadsides. The plant can reach a height of up to 1 meter and has an extensive root system that can help to stabilize soils and prevent erosion.

One of the unique characteristics of Frosted Orache is its ability to accumulate salts in its leaves, which can help to regulate its water balance and protect it from high salinity levels in the soil. This makes Frosted Orache an important plant for salt marsh restoration projects and for use in agricultural systems that are located in areas with high soil salinity.

Frosted Orache has also been used by indigenous communities for centuries for its medicinal properties. The plant contains high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and has been used to treat a range of ailments, including digestive issues, skin problems, and respiratory infections. The leaves of the plant can be eaten raw or cooked, and are often used in salads, soups, and stews.

In recent years, Frosted Orache has gained attention as a potential crop for sustainable agriculture. The plant is drought-tolerant, salt-tolerant, and can grow on marginal lands, making it an ideal candidate for areas where traditional crops may not be able to thrive. Additionally, Frosted Orache is a nutritious plant that can be used as a source of food, animal feed, and biofuel.

Frosted Orache is also an important plant for wildlife habitat. The plant provides food and cover for a variety of birds, mammals, and insects. The leaves of the plant are a food source for caterpillars of some butterfly species, and the seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals.

In addition to its ecological and agricultural benefits, Frosted Orache has cultural significance for indigenous communities in western North America. The plant has been used in traditional ceremonies and as a source of dye for textiles. Its frosted appearance has also been the inspiration for artwork and poetry.

Despite its many benefits, Frosted Orache is not without its challenges. The plant can become invasive in some areas, outcompeting native vegetation and altering ecosystems. It is important to carefully manage the use and distribution of the plant to prevent negative impacts on the environment.

In summary, Frosted Orache is a unique and valuable plant with many ecological, agricultural, and cultural benefits. Its ability to thrive in harsh environments and provide food and habitat for wildlife make it an important part of western North American ecosystems. Further research and management strategies can help to maximize the benefits of this versatile plant while minimizing its potential negative impacts.

30 Magnificent Facts about the Frosted Orache

  1. Frosted Orache, also known as Atriplex laciniata, is a plant species in the family Amaranthaceae.

  2. It is native to North America, where it is found in the western United States and western Canada.

  3. Frosted Orache is a cold-hardy plant that is well adapted to survive in harsh environments.

  4. It can grow in a variety of soil types, including sand, clay, and loam.

  5. The plant is known for its large, edible leaves, which can be eaten raw or cooked.

  6. The leaves are blue-green in color and have a frosted appearance, which gives the plant its common name.

  7. Frosted Orache can grow up to 3 feet tall and has a spread of about 2 feet.

  8. The plant produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are green or reddish in color.

  9. The flowers are followed by small, seed-like fruits that are about 1/8 inch in diameter.

  10. Frosted Orache is an important source of food for many animals, including birds, rodents, and rabbits.

  11. The plant is also used as a food source by some indigenous peoples in North America.

  12. Frosted Orache has a long history of medicinal use among Native American tribes.

  13. It was traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments, including stomach problems, skin conditions, and respiratory issues.

  14. The plant contains high levels of antioxidants, which may contribute to its medicinal properties.

  15. Frosted Orache is a hardy plant that can survive in a range of temperatures, from below freezing to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

  16. It is a drought-tolerant plant that can grow in areas with little rainfall.

  17. Frosted Orache can be propagated by seed or by taking stem cuttings.

  18. The plant is easy to grow and requires little maintenance.

  19. It is often used as a landscaping plant, particularly in xeriscaping and native plant gardens.

  20. Frosted Orache is also used for erosion control and as a windbreak.

  21. The plant is well adapted to saline soils and can be used to reclaim areas affected by salinization.

  22. Frosted Orache is a nitrogen-fixing plant, which means it can convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that can be used by other plants.

  23. This makes it a useful plant for improving soil fertility in agricultural systems.

  24. Frosted Orache is an annual plant that dies back in the winter and reseeds itself in the spring.

  25. It is a fast-growing plant that can reach maturity in as little as 6 weeks.

  26. Frosted Orache is not considered an invasive species, but it can spread quickly in favorable growing conditions.

  27. The plant has no known toxic effects, but its high oxalate content may cause health issues if consumed in large quantities.

  28. Frosted Orache is a valuable plant for its edible leaves, medicinal properties, and ecological benefits.

  29. It is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of settings, from gardens to agricultural fields.

  30. With its many benefits and adaptability, Frosted Orache is a plant worth considering for anyone interested in sustainable agriculture and landscaping.

Frosted Orache, also known as Atriplex laciniata, is a hardy and versatile plant that is native to North America. It has edible leaves, medicinal properties, and ecological benefits, and is well adapted to survive in harsh environments. The plant is used for landscaping, erosion control, and agriculture, and can improve soil fertility through nitrogen fixation. Although it is not considered invasive, it can spread quickly in favorable growing conditions.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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