Atriplex hortensis

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Atriplex hortensis
Atriplex hortensis cleaned Sturm.png
1796 painting[2]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Chenopodioideae
Genus: Atriplex
Species: A. hortensis
Binomial name
Atriplex hortensis,[1]
Atriplex hortensis

Atriplex hortensis, also known as garden orache, red orach, mountain spinach, French spinach, or simply orache or arrach, is a Eurasian species of plant in the amaranth family (for many years classified in the goosefoot family). It is native to Asia and Europe, and widely naturalized in Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.[4][5][6][7][8][9]

Atriplex hortensis is a hardy, annual plant, with an erect, branching stem, varying in height from two to six feet, according to the variety and soil. The leaves are variously shaped, but somewhat oblong, comparatively thin in texture, and slightly acidic to the taste; the flowers are small and obscure, greenish or reddish, corresponding in a degree with the color of the foliage of the plant; the seeds are small, black, and surrounded with a thin, pale-yellow membrane. They retain their vitality for three years.[10]

The garden orache has a salty, spinach-like taste. The leaves are used cooked or in salads. It was commonly grown in Mediterranean regions from early times until spinach became the more favored leaf vegetable. The leaves appear in red, white and green varieties. It is commonly grown as a warm-weather alternative to spinach because it is more tolerant of heat and slower to bolt in warm weather.[11] The green leaves were once used to color pasta in Italy. Another common use of orach is to balance out the acidic flavor of sorrel.[12]


  1. ^ "Taxon: Atriplex hortensis L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  2. ^ Figure from Deutschlands Flora in Abbildungen. Author: Johann Georg Sturm. Painter: Jacob Sturm
  3. ^ The Plant List, Atriplex hortensis L.
  4. ^ Flora of China, 榆钱菠菜 yu qian bo cai Atriplex hortensis Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1053. 1753.
  5. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Atriplice degli orti, bledos moles, Gartenmelde, trädgårdsmålla, Atriplex hortensis L., includes photos and European distribution map
  6. ^ Flora of North America, Garden orach, Atriplex hortensis Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1053. 1753.
  7. ^ Biota of North America 2014 state-level distribution map
  8. ^ Wilson, P. G. 1984. Chenopodiaceae. Flora of Australia 4: 81–330.
  9. ^ Webb, C. J., W. R. Sykes & P. J. Garnock-Jones. 1988. Chenopodiaceae. Flora of New Zealand 515–534
  10. ^ Burr, Fearing: The Field and Garden Vegetables of America, page 297. Crosby and Nichols, 1863
  11. ^ Cornell University Gardening Growing Guide
  12. ^ Davidson, Alan (1999): Orach. In: Oxford Companion to Food: 556. ISBN 0-19-211579-0

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