Desert Holly

Common Names:
Desert Holly
Scientific name:
Atriplex hymenelytra
Synonyms:
Obione hymenelytra Obione hymenelytra Obione hymenelytra
Elevation range:
-250 - 5,000 ft
Flowering Months:
January, February, March, April
Height | Length:
8-48 in.
Life Cycle | Lifeform:
Shrub
Pollinator or food source for:
Notes:
Dioecious, Attracts butterflies
State Occurrences:
Desert region:
Mojave, Sonoran

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Desert Holly in the desert

Atriplex hymenelytra leaves are a silvery light green that reflects strong sunlight away from the plant. Death Valley National Park | October 2005    

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Desert Holly in the desert

Atriplex hymenelytra scattered over a hillside of basalt rock. Death Valley National Park | October 2007    

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Desert Holly in the desert

Atriplex hymenelytra fruit (background) with pink gall/abnormality. Death Valley National Park | February 2013  

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Desert Holly in the desert

Atriplex hymenelytra female plant. Death Valley National Park | February 2013  

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Desert Holly in the desert

Atriplex hymenelytra is a shrub in the Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot) family. This is the most drought tolerant saltbush in North America. Mtn Palm Springs, Anza Borrego Desert State Park | February 2005   

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Desert Holly in the desert

Atriplex hymenelytra is not actually related to Christmas holly though from a distance the leaf structure is somewhat similar and its fruit has a flash of red. Anza Borrego Desert State Park | December 2005    

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Desert Holly in the desert

Atriplex hymenelytra male flowers are yellowish fading to brown. Death Valley National Park | February 2013    

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Desert Holly in the desert

Atriplex hymenelytra female plant with a close view of the gray-green leaves. This plant often grows near salt flats and has an adaptation by which it concentrates salts in leaf regions separate from the plant cells. Salt is removed from the plant when the leaves are shed by predation or extreme drought stress. Death Valley National Park | January 29, 2016. 

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Desert Holly in the desert

Atriplex hymenelytra with staminate (male) flowers growing on a hillside. Death Valley National Park | January 2016