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Tasty saltbush

Tasty saltbush

Story and photos: Russ Grayson

Common name: Saltbush.

Botanic name:

Family:  Amaranthaceae
Genus: Atriplex
Species:  52 species in Australia.

Centre of diversity: Australia and other countries.

Natural habitat:

  • coastal ecosystems
  • dry inland Australia and overseas.

Growth form:

  • perennial shrub 3m high to around 5m wide
  • grey-green in leaf colour
  • small grey-yellow flowers.

Useful part: leaf.

Uses:

Food:

  • salt substitute
  • use in salads, stir fry to add flavour
  • use as a salt substitute by drying leaves and grinding
  • fry leaves as potato chips
  • keeps in a bag in the refrigerator for about five days; dried — keeps for around three to four months in a sealed container.

Other uses:

  • screen in garden
  • habitat planting
  • sand dune stabilisation
  • sheep, cattle browse.

Reproduction, growing:

  • reproduce from seeds, cuttings
  • tolerates sandy soil and salty sea spray
  • wind tolerant.

Notes: stores high levels of salt in the roots and leaves.

Indigenous uses, names:

  • known as Tjilyi-tjilyi to Indigenous Australians
  • seeds roasted, ground to add to traditional bush bread
  • Aussie Green Thumb: ash from the burned leaves used like baking soda; leaves used to treat burns and wounds.
Saltbush in coastal habitat. Wind and salt spray tolerant, saltbush is found on beaches as well as inland Australia. 

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