A small annual occurring on sand and shingle beaches around the margins of sea-lochs and other sheltered inlets and bays. It grows in the lowest part of sparsely vegetated strandlines below, for example, the zone normally occupied by Cakile maritima and other Atriplex species. Lowland.
A. praecox was only recognised as a British species in 1975, and is almost certainly under-recorded. In Scandinavia this taxon is usually treated as A. longipes subsp. praecox.
European Boreal-montane element; also in Greenland.
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Light (Ellenberg): 9
Moisture (Ellenberg): 5
Reaction (Ellenberg): 7
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 3
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 12.8
Annual Precipitation (mm): 1503
Height (cm): 10
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Clonality - primary
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 62
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0
Scarce Atlas Account
Atriplex praecox Hülph
This is a tiny annual plant, rarely more than 10 cm tall, that occurs in the lowest part of open strand communities. Its most characteristic habitat is sand and shingle beaches on the sheltered shores of Scottish sea-lochs.
The plant is capable of self-pollination but also exhibits protogyny, which promotes outcrossing (Taschereau 1985). The flowers, to a great extent wind-pollinated, are produced in June and July, earlier than those of other coastal species of Atriplex.
A. praecox was first reported in Britain only in 1975 (Taschereau 1977) and is almost certainly under-recorded.
This species occurs on the coasts of most of northeastern Europe from Iceland to arctic Russia, extending southwards to Britain and southern Sweden (Jalas & Suominen 1980); it also occurs in North America.
Scandinavian botanists usually treat it as subsp. praecox (Hülph.) Turesson of A. longipes.
J. R. Akeroyd