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Atriplex Hortensis, Orach - Red Plume

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This cultivar has deep red leaves and is occasionally grown as an ornamental plant. The leaves taste the same as the green-leafed forms.

Orach was formerly cultivated for its edible leaves. It can be grown as a warm weather substitute for spinach. 

Plants are fast-growing and usually self-sow quite freely if the surrounding soil is disturbed by hoeing etc. They tolerate hot weather well, but soon go to seed so successive sowings at 4 weekly intervals are required during the growing season if a continuous supply of leaves is required. Leaves can be harvested 40 - 60 days after sowing the seed.

Orach is a very easily grown plant, doing equally well in a wide variety of well-drained soils, though rich, moisture-retentive soils give the quick growth that is necessary for the production of tender leaves.

This species is a poor companion plant for potatoes, inhibiting their growth when growing close to them.

Edible uses

Leaves - raw or cooked. Used like spinach, they have a bland flavour and are traditionally mixed with sorrel leaves in order to modify the acidity of the latter. Another report says that the flavour is stronger than spinach.

Seed - cooked. It can be ground into a meal and used in soups etc or be mixed with flour when making bread.

The seed is said to be a good source of vitamin A.

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