Sponge-fruit saltbush

Sponge-fruit saltbush

Atriplex inflata

Common Name:

Sponge-fruit saltbush

Scientific Name:

Atriplex inflata


Alternative common names:

Blasiesoutbos(Afrikaans), Soutbos, blasie(Afrikaans), Sponge – fruit saltbush(English), Saltbush, sponge-fruit(English)

Description:

Low softy woody shrublet 0.2- 0.4(-0.7) m high creamy - white branches. Leaves are grey to bluish-green, scaly, about 2x longer than broad, margins smooth or slightly wavy and toothed. Flowers: cream to yellow, minute, in tight axillary cluster at the ends of leafy stem. Fruits are utricles, grey-green turning pink or straw- coloured, spongy and inflated, sub-globose, upper surface flattened, up to 10 mm long and wide. 

Additional Information


Where does this species come from?

South East, South West Australia

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 1b

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Northern Cape.

How does it spread?

Wind water ,wildlife and humans

Why is it a problem?

It forms dense stands particularly in overgrazed land. Competes with and replaces indigenous

What does it look like?

Leaves: Alternate - Silver - grey to bluish-green, scaly, about 2x longer than broad, margins smooth or slightly wavy and toothed.

Flowers: Cream to yellow, minute, in tight axillary clusters at the ends of leafy stems.

Fruit/seeds: Utricle, grey-green turning pink or straw-coloured, spongy and inflated, sub-globose, upper surface flattened, up to 10 mm long and wide, one seeded.

Does the plant have any uses?

Cultivated for fodder and animals also uses the plant as fodder.

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