Four-winged Saltbush (Atriplex canescens)

My main interest in this shrub is its appeal to wildlife. I haven’t seen it on my property but it is readily available in the area.

Today I picked a few seeds to test, but do not think they are ready. They will stay on the shrub until late winter, if the wildlife doesn’t eat them first. They have large green panicle blooms that are easily seen against their gray foliage. I find them pleasing in appearance but not flashy.  When dry to a yellow tone, they are ready.

All of the ungulates browse saltbush during winter as do horse, sheep, and cattle.  Rabbits, hares, squirrels, rats and mice do too.

My goal is to bring quail onto my property.

I can’t imagine protection for this shrub, it is on too many “eat” lists.  If I could spread enough seed for some to mature out of sight?

This shrub works well for my Food Forest because it likes alkaline soil, survives on as low as 10 inches of rain, is cold hardy, and most of my residents want it for dinner.  It uptakes salt into bladders in the leaves and attracts wildlife like a saltlick.  I would like one or two for my chicken run.

If the seeds are viable and survive predation, they will survive my climate and soil.

Saltbush is edible for me too. If you burn the leaves you get a leavening agent similar to baking soda except it makes food bluegreen. I don’t have a natural leavener so I want to try that.

I don’t like the leaves raw, but you can decide for yourself.  Or try them cooked.


About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
This entry was posted in chicken m, Circular Economy, food forest, plant uses, wild edibles, wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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