Orache, Common

Information on Common Orache

Common Name: Common Orache
Scientific Name: Atriplex patula
Irish Name: Eilifleog chaol
Family Group: Chenopodiaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Common Orache could sometimes be confused with:

Orache, Babington's,

Common Orache is a slightly mealy annual plant found on open, arable, coastal and disturbed, waste ground over most of the country. Extremely variable, it grows to about 60 cm in height although it can also be quite prostrate and spreading. The stems are ridged, reddish and, both terminally and from the leaf axils, bear small, greenish flowers in long spikes from July to October. The upper leaves are lanceolate, the lower, triangular leaves having basal lobes which are forward-pointing, the leaves themselves tapering into the stalk. The diamond –shaped fruits lack knobbles or warts, which helps to distinguish it from Babington’s Orache. This is an introduced species belonging to the Chenopodiaceae family.

I first recorded this plant in Termon, Co Donegal in 1980 and photographed it in Gibletstown, Co Wexford in 2010.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Used as a vegetable in former times, herbalist Nicholas Culpeper knew it as ‘Garden Arrach’ and wrote of it ‘It is so commonly known to every housewife, it were labour lost to describe it’. In spite of that, he goes on to describe it ‘The herb, whether it be bruised and applied to the throat, or boiled, and in like manner applied, it matters not much, it is excellently good for swellings in the throat: the best way, I suppose, is to boil it, apply the herb outwardly: the decoction of it, besides, is an excellent remedy for the yellow jaundice’.

Orache, Common
Orache, Common
Orache, Common