Atriplex portulacoides Amaranthaceae Sea Purslane

In bud In flower On Cliffs

Atriplex portulacoides 20kb

Description - This is rather an unassuming plant, spreading in grey-green mats up to 1m diameter. The small oval leaves have a thick cuticle, and are rather succulent, to help protect them from sea spray. The short flower spikes are reddish in bud, then golden yellow once in flower, although they do not have colourful petals. The colour comes from the yellow pollen-bearing anthers.

Habitat - This plant is able to grow in very thin soil over rocks. It is found around the coast. At one time it was thought to be quite rare, but once one scrambles down the cliffs off the paths it is found in many areas. It has also colonised the rubble-bank along the road at Rocquaine, north of Fort Grey, so is seen by many more people nowadays.

Comments - This is a good edible plant although the leaves are so small.They can be eaten raw in salads, or cooked briefly. They are naturally salty and have a pleasant crunchy texture.

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