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Atriplex hymenelytra

Desert holly

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassCaryophyllidaeCacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts
OrderCaryophyllalesIncludes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants
FamilyAmaranthaceaeAmaranth family
GenusAtriplexAn ancient Latin name for this plant

About plant names...

Desert holly is a type of saltbush.

Identification: This bush has a thickened, woody base, and is 12-59" (30-150 cm) high. It has silvery green leaves and twisted leaves with multiple pointed tips, like holly. Leaves are ⅜-1½" (1-4 cm) long, with teeth up to ⅜" (1 cm). The fruits, enclosed in modified leaves, are red-brown, and look a bit like holly berries. Flowers are yellow to purple-brown, in spikes up to 1" (3 cm) long.

Online References:

Atriplex hymenelytra at the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association (great photos)

Atriplex hymenelytra at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Atriplex hymenelytra on Wikimedia Commons

Atriplex hymenelytra on CalPhotos

Atriplex hymenelytra on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

Atriplex hymenelytra from the Jepson Manual


Atriplex hymenelytra description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Atriplex hymenelytra (desert holly)

10/4/2003 · Death Valley, Cali­fornia · By Constance B. Kent ID is uncertain