Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Atriplex hortensis
(garden orache)



Atriplex hortensis (garden orache)


  • Last modified
  • 24 October 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Atriplex hortensis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • garden orache
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae

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Atriplex hortensis (garden orache); habit. Greven, Germany. October 2014.
CaptionAtriplex hortensis (garden orache); habit. Greven, Germany. October 2014.
Copyright©Frank Vincentz/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Atriplex hortensis (garden orache); habit. Greven, Germany. October 2014.
HabitAtriplex hortensis (garden orache); habit. Greven, Germany. October 2014.©Frank Vincentz/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Atriplex hortensis L.

Preferred Common Name

  • garden orache

International Common Names

  • Spanish: armuelle; armuelle de huerta; Ceniglo; verdolaga hortense
  • French: arroche des jardins; bonne dame
  • Portuguese: erva-armoles

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Garten- Melde
  • Italy: bietolone rosso
  • Latvia: darzine balandune
  • Netherlands: tuinmelde
  • Sweden: traedgaardsmaalla

EPPO code

  • ATXHO (Atriplex hortensis)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Caryophyllales
  •                         Family: Chenopodiaceae
  •                             Genus: Atriplex
  •                                 Species: Atriplex hortensis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Orach (Atriplex hortensis L.) is a member of the Chenopodiaceae which also includes fodder beet, sugarbeet, spinach, chard (also called Swiss chard or spinach chard), and quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) (Welbaum, 2015).


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Atriplex hortensis is a hardy, annual plant, with an erect, branching stem, varying in height from 0.6 m to 1.8 m, according to the variety and soil. The leaves are smooth, heart- to shield-shaped, comparatively thin in texture, and slightly acidic to the taste. The flowers are small, momoecious, greenish or reddish, corresponding in a degree with the colour of the foliage of the plant; the seeds are small, black, and surrounded by a thin, pale-yellow membrane (Welbaum, 2015). 


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Orach is is believed to have originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is not a significant crop in the USA but it is an important salad vegetable in France and parts of the UK. It is a hardy monoecious annual that is tolerant of drought, salinity, and a broad range of temperatures. Orach is often grown as a substitute for spinach in warm climates because flowering is slow and plants tolerate higher temperatures even though stems may rapidly elongate (Welbaum, 2015). 

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


BulgariaUnconfirmed recordCAB Abstracts
LithuaniaPresentIntroducedGudžinskas, 2000Naturalized

Biology and Ecology

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Orach (Atriplex hortensis), also called mountain spinach or French spinach, is resistant to hot weather and drought (Welbaum, 2015). It is pollinated by wind. Orach grows easily in a wide variety of well-drained soils, though rich, moisture-retentive soils are the best for quick growth of tender leaves. Plants require a position in full sun and are tolerant of saline and very alkaline soils. They thrive in any temperate climate. Orach is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 30 to 140 cm, an average annual temperature in the range of 6 to 24°C, and a pH of 5.0 to 8.2 (Plants for a Future).


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The garden orache has a salty, spinach-like taste and the leaves are cooked or added to salads. It has medicinal and food uses (Rubatzky and Yamaguchi, 1997). The leaves are traditionally mixed with sorrel leaves. Seeds can be cooked and ground for use in soups, or mixed with flour for bread (Plants for a Future). In addition a blue dye can be extracted from the seed.

Distribution Maps

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