Orach (Atriplex species)

Orach or Mountain SpinachThe edible Orach plant (also known as Saltbush, Garden Orache, Red Orache, Mountain Spinach, or French Spinach)  is vine-like in growth and can grow erect to 1-2 meters (3-6 feet) in height.  It has arrowhead-shaped, somewhat oblong, alternate leaves up to 5 centimeters (2 inches) long. The leave are thin in texture and slightly acidic in taste. Young leaves maybe silver-colored and mature leaves can be red, white, or green. Its flowers and fruits are small and inconspicuous and can be greenish or reddish in color.  The seeds are small, black, and surrounded with a thin, pale-yellow membrane.

There are many species of and the variety of appearances may make the plant difficult to discern.

Garden Orach can be reddish in colorWhere to Find: Orach species are entirety restricted to salty soils. They are found along North America’s coasts and on the shores of alkaline lakes inland. They are also found along seashores from the Mediterranean countries to inland areas in North Africa and eastward to Turkey and central Siberia.  Some species prefer dry, salty soils and can be found in desert areas.

Edible Parts: The entire plant is edible raw or boiled.

Vine-like Orach plant

Color drawing of Orach plant and its components

Color drawing of Orach and the various plant parts

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