Atriplex canescens var. gigantea

Common Names:
dune four-wing saltbush, giant four-wing Saltbush
Welsh & Stutz
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Sylvia Torti
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Red Butte Garden and Arboretum

The conservation of Atriplex canescens var. gigantea is fully sponsored.
Sylvia Torti contributed to this Plant Profile.


Atriplex canescens var. gigantea, or giant four-wing saltbush, is a rare variety of a common species, Atriplex canescens, or four-wing saltbush. Giant four-wing saltbush grows at only one location in the wild--the Lynndyl Dunes in Juab County, Utah. The rare var. gigantea is considered a diploid (2n) of A. canescens, which is a tetraploid (4n), and the evolutionary significance of this has been the focus of evolutionary studies (see Current Research section). Regardless, this taxon is threatened with extinction because the one location where it occurs also happens to be a recreational area where off-road vehicle use, including racing events, are popular. Plants have been killed not only by vehicles driving directly over them, but also by campers in a nearby campground who break off the branches of this shrub for campfires. (Hreha 1995)

Atriplex canescens var. gigantea is deserving of its common name, as it is a large shrub, reaching up to 12 feet in height and 15 feet in width. However, it has small leaves. The plant flowers in late June. It is dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are found on different plants. The seeds are found in the middle of "four wings", hence the common name, four-wing saltbush.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research