Description & Remarks
Published first in December 2012: Danin, A. 2012. In: W. Greuter & T. Raus (ed.) Med checklist Notulae 31. Willdenowia 42 (2): 287-295.
Section Spongiocarpus in the genus Atriplex comprises six species considered endemic to Australia. One of them was named in Zohary’s (1976) Analytical Flora with the scientific names Atriplex spongiosa and Seniella spongiosa. The fourth volume of “Flora of Australia” was published in 1984. In that flora it became clear that in 1858 and 1859 F. Mueller described two similar species: Atriplex spongiosa with globular fruits (not yet found in Israel) and Atriplex holocarpa with spongy fruits resembling an upside down water drop (the sharp tip is at the fruit base). Possibly it was introduced to Israel as an ornamental plant and escaped from cultivation. It is a common component of disturbed habitats in dry parts of the country. When visiting the Northern Negev, November 2012, to study and photograph plants of the Chenopodiaceae, I saw a spongy saltbush near Omer. When shooting a close up I saw that its fruit is different from what I was used to seeing in our country. Verifying its identity with the Flora of Australia led me to conclude that it is Atriplex lindleyi. Several studies concerning the flora of Australia emphasize the presence of a pair of small projections, 1 mm long, at the center of the flat area at the fruit tip. The distribution map of the plant in the Euro + Med Plantbase indicates that it has already invaded Egypt and several North African countries.