Herb: Quail Bush

Latin name: Atriplex lentiformis

Family: Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot Family)

Medicinal use of Quail Bush:

The fresh leaves can be chewed, or the dried leaves smoked, in the treatment of head colds. The crushed flowers, stems and leaves can be steamed and inhaled to treat nasal congestion. A poultice of the powdered roots has been applied to sores.

Description of the plant:


3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Alkaline places, mainly below 600 metres in California.

Edible parts of Quail Bush:

Leaves and young shoots - cooked. Seed - cooked. It can be used as a piäole or be ground into a meal and used as a porridge, a thickener in soups or added to flour for making bread. The seed is rather small and fiddly to use.

Other uses of the herb:

The crushed leaves and roots have been used as a soap for washing clothes etc.

Propagation of Quail Bush:

Seed - sow April/May in a cold frame in a compost of peat and sand. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 weeks at 13°C. Pot up the seedlings when still small into individual pots, grow on in a greenhouse for the first winter and plant out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Very easy. Pot up as soon as they start to root (about 3 weeks) and plant out in their permanent positions late in the following spring. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, November/December in a frame. Very easy. Pot up in early spring and plant out in their permanent position in early summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Alkaline places, mainly below 600 metres in California.

Known hazards of Atriplex lentiformis:

No member of this genus contains any toxins, all have more or less edible leaves. However, if grown with artificial fertilizers, they may concentrate harmful amounts of nitrates in their leaves.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.