Spreading atriplex

Atriplex patula

Stems & Roots: Prostrate or nearly erect; at least the first 6 leaves opposite (2 per node), but usually alternate (1 per node) towards the ends of stems and branches; branching pattern therefore opposite near the base and alternate farther from the base.
Leaves: Leaves linear to narrowly lance-shaped and without teeth or lobes, or somewhat broader and with 1 or 2 lateral lobes and sometimes with a few teeth along the margins above the lobes, green, somewhat fleshy, mostly 1-5cm (2/5-2in.) long.
Flowers & Fruit: Flowers very small and unisexual; male flowers with only stamens and sepals (no pistil or petals); female flowers with only a single pistil (without stamens, petals or sepals) and enclosed between 2 green, triangular to broadly diamond-shaped bracts about 1-4mm (1/25-1/6 in.) long and wide, and 2 to 5 of these usually clustered together in the axils of smaller leaves along nearly all the stems and branches; both sexes on one plant. Flowers from July to September.
Habitat: Spreading atriplex is a native plant in both saline and non-saline moist soils throughout Ontario but frequently occurs as a weed in gardens, waste areas, and row crops in the southern part of the province.
Similar Species: It is distinguished from Halbred-leaved atriplex by usually being prostrate, and by its narrower leaves without lobes or teeth and its wider leaves having a pair of lobes near the base that point outwards and upwards. It is distinguished from Lamb's-quarters by its several pairs of opposite leaves and branches, and its triangular to diamond-shaped bracts enclosing each flower.

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