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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Silvery Saltbush - Atriplex argentea

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
C-value: 3

Agency Status


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General Description
Monoecious annuals with farinose foliage. Stems erect, branched, 5–50 cm. Leaves often opposite below; the blades lanceolate to triangular, sometimes hastate, 1–4 cm long; margins entire Inflorescence axillary glomerules and short terminal spikes, female below male. Male flowers 4 to 5-parted. Female flowers lacking a calyx; pistillate bracts united to the middle. Mature pistillate bracts hardened in the center, 3–6 mm long with lobed margins and often tuberculate faces. Our plants are variety argentea (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Amaranthus alba may be confused with A. blitoides, but they are easily distinguished by the size and luster of the seeds (Welsh 2003 in Fl. N. Amer. Vol. 4)

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
In MT scattered irregularly across about a third of our counties, but excluding most along the western tier apart from Beaverhead County; BC to MB south to CA, TX, and Mexico, also widely introduced across S. Am., Eurasia, Africa and Australia (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX; Welsh 2003 in Fl. N. Amer. Vol. 4).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 75

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Barren, fine-textured to sandy, often saline or alkaline soil of steppe, eroding slopes, badlands; plains, valleys (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Anderson, N.L. 1951. Field studies on the biology of range grasshoppers of southeastern Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 96 p.
    • Quire, R.L. 2013. The sagebrush steppe of Montana and southeastern Idaho shows evidence of high native plant diversity, stability, and resistance to the detrimental effects of nonnative plant species. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 124 p.
    • Rundquist, V.M. 1973. Avian ecology on stock ponds in two vegetational types in north-central Montana. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 112 p.
    • Seipel, T.F. 2006. Plant species diversity in the sagebrush steppe of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 87 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Silvery Saltbush — Atriplex argentea.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from