Creeping saltbush (Atriplex semibaccata R. Br.) is a shrub from dry and saline regions that is a valued forage.
Atriplex semibaccata is a prostrate, spreading, mostly evergreen perennial undershrub, with a short to medium life span (Le Houérou, 1992). It can reach a height of 0.8 m and a diameter of 1.5-2 m. It has a deep root. The branches are sprawling, whitish in colour. The leaves are alternate, scurfy and white in colour. The leaf blade is narrow, elliptic to oblong, 3-4 cm long x 0.2-1.2 cm wide. The lower face of the leaves is densely hairy. Creeping saltbush is a monoecious plant. Female and male flowers are borne on different parts of the shrub. Female flowers are borne in small scattered clusters at leaf-axils and male flowers are borne in small glomerules at the extremity of the branches. The fruits of creeping saltbush are 4-6 mm long, diamond-shaped, with juicy red flesh and are edible. The seeds are minute, dimorphic, either black (1.5-1.7 mm) or brown (2 mm) (FNAEC, 2015). Creeping saltbush is a very variable species that adapts to many edaphic conditions. Under water stress, leaf size, root diameter and the number of chloroplasts decrease. Photosynthesis also decreases and the number of stomata increases. Creeping saltbush is the only species of the Atriplex genus that becomes dormant during winter (Pasiecznik, 2015).
Creeping saltbush is highly valued as a dry land forage, and may be used for erosion control: it provides good ground cover. It is also used for reclamation of salt lands (Pasiecznik, 2015).