Plant Species of the Bright Angel Trail:
tumbling oracle, Atriplex rosea

See Plant Guide to Bright Angel Trail for an introduction to this page, especially the Introduction To These Species Pages.


This is a non-native species.

Identification status: high confidence.

Atriplex species are immediately recognized by the bracts around their female flowers. These bracts persist in fruit to enclose their single seed, when they are called fruiting bractlets in Kearney and Peebles. The bracts are an important characteristic to distinguish Atriplex species.

This non-native species was not listed in McDougall, so I have to use the longer key in Kearney and Peebles:

1'  Fruiting bractlets not bright red; not A. semibaccata
2   Annual
3'  Leaves not triangular-hastate
4'  Fruiting bractlets not dimorphic; leaves not cordate at base
5'  Bractlets not round
7'  Leaves not strongly 3-nerved from base
8'  Leaves less than 3 times as long as wide
10  Leaves oblong-ovate, conspicuously dentate; fruiting bractlets deltoid,
    acutish at apex, cuneate at base, dentate ... A. rosea

The bracts are a perfect match to the Britton Brown 1913 illustration

From a SEINet search on 28 September 2007, there are 4 vouchers of this species from the Coconino County portion of the Grand Canyon. The nearest is from Next to Desert view Tower at an elevation of 7460 feet. Note that there may be additional vouchers at other herbaria not available through SEINet.

First occurrence on Bright Angel Trail: mile 0.02, elevation 6834 feet (2083 m).

Number of plants along Trail: I couldn't recall seeing the plants anyplace other than at mile 0.02, where there were ~10 or so. I left the estimate of the number of plants blank on the plant trail guide to remind me to note the number of plants and locations on my next visit.


From 5 September 2007, mile 0.02:

You can see why I didn't try to photograph this mature specimen from the other side of the trail!

Young plant not yet in fruit:

The next two pictures shows the fruiting bracts. The second picture below has them circled.

From 14 September 2006, mile 0.02:


See Resources for Grand Canyon Flora for further information on most of these references. Entries in the second column are either the name used in that source or a page reference. The name is linked to online pages when available. If a given reference does not contain this taxon, the entry is either left blank or contains a hyphen.

Scientific NameAtriplex rosea
1987 Grand Canyon Flora NameAtriplex rosea
1987 Grand Canyon Flora page27
SEINet Image PageAtriplex rosea
USDA PlantsAtriplex rosea
Flora of North AmericaAtriplex rosea
Jepson Manual for California treatmentAtriplex rosea
Jepson Manual illustration page-
Kearney and Peebles NameAtriplex rosea
Kearney and Peebles Page #257
Vascular Plants of AZ name
Vascular Plants of AZ volume: page
Huisinga et al 2006 name-
Huisinga et al 2006 page numbers-
Epple Name-
Epple description page #-
Epple pix #-
McDougall 1964 name-
McDougall 1964 page #-
Brian 2000 Name
Phillips 1979 name-
Phillips 1979 page #-
Stockert 1967 name-
Stockert 1967 page #-

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Copyright © 2007 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last Update: 28 September 2007