Fruit - Face View
North of Old Wives Lake
The pistillate flower has no perianth. Instead the ovary is enclosed within two bracteoles. After fertilization, the ovary will develop into a utricle. The structure composed of the two bracteoles plus the enclosed utricle can be viewed as an accessory fruit. It is an accessory fruit because the bracteoles are not derived from the ovary. The pericarp of the utricle is thin, membranous, and easily removed from the interior seed. As a result, the structure enclosed by the bracteoles is usually simply referred to as the seed. This species has two types of seeds: large brown ones and small black ones.
Atriplex prostrata and A. dioica are very similar. According to the Flora of North America, "There does not seem to be any consistent feature or combination of features by which all specimens can be assigned to one or the other of the two taxa". I decided this specimen was A. prostrata because there are mostly non-scurfy, hastate triangular leaves extending almost to the apex of the plant. However, the leaf veins are prominent which is usually a feature of A. dioica.
A key to all the Atriplex species occurring in Saskatchewan is found here. This key was derived from the key in the Flora of North America by removing all the non-Saskatchewan species.
Atriplex: Answers to key questions in Budd's Flora and Flora of Alberta leading to this genus.
Amaranthaceae: Answers to key questions in Budd's Flora leading to this family. Not all the answers apply to all the genera in Amaranthaceae, but they all do apply to Atriplex.