Family: Chenopodiaceae
Common Name: Saitbush

In their native environment, these shrubs are generally found in coastal and inland salt marsh and lake areas. The leaves are leathery and often toothed and the flower segments are deciduous. When they autumn, two bracts enlarge to enclose the fruit. With their unusual grayish white foliage, they have potential as landscape contrast plants. They can adapt to alkaline soils and can withstand hot, dry conditions. Because of their sand-binding qualities, they are useful plants for seaside gardens.


A. cinerea, a coastal silvery gray shrub with spongy fruit, grows to 1 m (3 ft) tall.

A. halimoides, from Western Australia, is a dwarf shrub with gray-white foliage.

A. holocarpa has small, silvery, blueish white leaves, inconspicuous flowers and small, round, creamy pink fruit. It grows to 1 m (3 ft), forming a spreading mound.

A. muelleri is a sprawling gray shrub with cut-off leaves and round fruit bracts.

A. nummularia, old man saltbush, is the largest species, growing to 2.5 m (8 ft). It has gray-green foliage and flattish bracts.

A. paludosa's natural habitat is the salt marsh. It is a spreading bush to 1 m (3 ft), with heart-shaped fruit.

A. prostrata, creeping saltbush, from Western Australia has tiny white leaves and flat fruit bracts.

A. semibaccata, berry saltbush, grows well in coastal areas. It is a spreading, prostrate, silvery green shrub with diamond-shaped red fruit bracts.

A. spinibractea, spiny saltbush, is from inland Australia. A trailing, prostrate species with scattered silvery foliage, its fruit bracts have tiny curved spines.

A. spongiosa, pop saltbush, also from Western Australia, is a small shrub with clusters of large inflated bracts and gray-white foliage.


Saltbush thrives in a sunny, well-drained situation. Propagation is mostly by tip cuttings taken in summer or autumn. These root easily in a sharp sand and peat or vermiculite mix at the rate of 3:1. These shrubs can also be propagated from the ripened seeds, which should be scarified before planting. Layering is also possible.


Drier temperate and high areas; zone 8.

Athyrium      Aubrieta