Atriplex canescens, chamiso, chamiza, four wing saltbush, four-wing saltbush, and fourwing saltbush, is a species of evergreen shrub in the Amaranthaceae family, which is native to the western and mid-western United States.
Atriplex canescens has a highly variable form, and readily hybridizes with several other species in the Atriplex genus. The degree of polyploidy also results in variations in form. Its height can vary from 1 foot to 10 feet, but 2 to 4 feet is most common. The leaves are thin and 0.5 to 2 inches long.
It is most readily identified by its fruits, which have four wings at roughly 90 degree angles and are densely packed on long stems.
This species blooms from April to October.
Fourwing saltbush is most common in early succession areas such as disturbed sites and active sand dunes. It is also found in more mature successions dominated by sagebrush—Artemisia tridentata and shadscale.
Among the Zuni people, an infusion of dried root and blossoms or a poultice of blossoms is used for ant bites. Twigs are also attached to prayer plumes and sacrificed to the cottontail rabbit to ensure good hunting.
- Stevenson, Matilda Coxe 1915 Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians. SI-BAE Annual Report #30 (p.44)
- Camazine, Scott and Robert A. Bye 1980 A Study Of The Medical Ethnobotany Of The Zuni Indians of New Mexico. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2:365–388 p.384
- Stevenson, p.88
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- USDA Forest Service: Atriplex canescens
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