Herbs, procumbent, many branched, alternate except basally, 0.06-3 dm. Stems reddish or yellowish, smooth or subangular. Leaves with blade ovate to lance-ovate or lanceolate to oblong, 15-45 mm, large basal lobes, obtuse, cuneate to a short petiole, margin sinuate-dentate, scurfy on both sides. Flowers in glomerules in distal leaf axils, axillary or in short terminal spikes. Fruiting bracteoles whitish green, sessile or subsessile, broadly rhombic, (4-)6-7(-8) mm, thickened at base, becoming scaly in age, cartilaginous in basal 1/2, lateral angles strongly produced and with margin mostly entire, faces smooth or irregular, pointed, or flattened and winglike tubercles in basal 1/2. Seeds monomorphic, light brown, 3.5-4 mm wide; radicle inferior. 2n = 18. Flowering summer-fall. Sand, cobble on more or less protected beaches, on Zostera and Fucus wrack; 0-50 m; introduced; N.B., N.S., P.E.I., Que.; Europe. Atriplex laciniata is evidently rare in North America.
Spreading or prostrate, to 5 dm; lvs ovate to orbicular, 2-4 cm, scurfy on both sides, with Kranz anatomy; fls axillary or in short terminal spikes; fruiting bracteoles rhombic, 5-8 mm long and wide, entire, 3-nerved, very finely and obscurely reticulate, the central part indurate, the tubercles few or none; seeds light brown, 3.5-4 mm wide; radicle inferior. Seashores about the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in N.B., P.E.I., N.S., and Que.; also on the Atlantic coast of Europe; perhaps only intr. with us. (A. sabulosa)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.