Atriplex nummularia

Common name: Old Man Saltbush


Origin of Scientific Name

Atriplex nummularia is commonly known as Old Man Saltbush. Photo: D. Blumer.View image slideshow

Atriplex – Latin name for the garden herb Orach, which can be used like spinach.

nummularia – coin shaped


This species is a small to medium shrub growing approximately 1 - 3 m in height and 2 - 4 m wide. The branches are whitish, brittle and woody. Leaves are bluish-grey and covered in a scaly white layer, with toothed margins. Flowers are small, yellow brown, male globular and borne in small terminal clusters, female flowers borne in dense long terminal clusters. Male and female flowers on different plants. The fruiting bracteole is about 0.5 cm long, more or less oval.


Found in the Avon Wheatbelt, Carnarvon, Coolgardie, Hampton, Murchison and Nullabor. Refer to the distribution map for this species via the Department of Parks and Wildlife's FloraBase online herbarium.

Flowering Season

June – September


Readily grown from seed, which can be collected easily. Plants can also be propagated using cuttings of firm young growth. It grows naturally in heavy soils in full sun, but is very adaptable to a full range of soils including alkaline soils.


Atriplex nummularia can be used as an ornamental garden plant, or for planting in informal hedges of windbreaks. It is useful for roadside plantings as the foliage provides a sharp colour contrast and is readily visible at night when lit by headlights. Useful also as a fire retardant species.

View in Kings Park

This species can be viewed in the desert beds at the entry to the Western Australian Botanic Garden.

Atriplex nummularia is an ideal ornamental garden plant. Photo: D. Blumer. Atriplex nummularia growing in the desert beds Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Photo: D. Blumer.