poetry and prose about place

limits of the tide #4 – Orach (Atriplex patula L.)

with 8 comments

Orach (Atriplex patula L.) is a common inhabitant of coastal areas in New Brunswick.  It lives in sheltered locations on the upper shore, out of reach of the highest tides.

The leaves of Orach are fleshy and arrow-shaped.  The margins of the leaves are variously toothed and the lowest teeth point outward (‘hastate’, similar to the leaves of Sheep Sorrel in the June 8, 2012 post under the category ‘growing and gathering’).  The leaves are grey to bright green and lighter on the underside of the leaf.  Orach is a highly variable and poorly known species with respect to taxonomy.

Orach flowers from July to August.  The flowers are like many seaside plants, inconspicuous and small, in the axils of the leaves.

Orach is tasty and salty.  It can be used in salads, or cooked in boiling water for 15 minutes and served like spinach.

1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.



hunting the orach


I know the place where the orach hides –

out of the way of the rising tides

between the rocks and deep in the sand,

with his halberd drawn, he makes his stand



©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

June 30, 2012 at 8:12 am

8 Responses

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  1. Love the arrow shape of the leaf and the delightful battle metaphor in your poem…


    Barbara Rodgers

    July 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    • Hi. Thanks! This poem was fun to write… I like tough little plants! Jane


      jane tims

      July 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm

  2. I’ve enjoyed learning about various, edible coastal plants that, until I read this series of posts, were unfamiliar to this inlander.



    July 2, 2012 at 12:05 am

    • Hi Sheryl. Perhaps you’ll see the coast someday and see them for yourself! More plants will follow… Jane


      jane tims

      July 2, 2012 at 8:07 am

  3. Your photography is great. I love the piece of pink granite you have in this photo… We don’t have that here but once I see it in Maine I know I’m home.



    June 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    • Hi. The granite was part of a sea-wall, constructed to keep the wave action from the road. The Orach tucks into the smallest spaces! Jane


      jane tims

      July 1, 2012 at 9:59 am

  4. Very fine picture, poem and illustration Jane.



    June 30, 2012 at 2:28 pm

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