Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 9: 110. 1874.
Herbs, freely branched, 0.5–2.5 dm; branches spreading to erect, typically suffused with red, slender, sparsely scurfy. Leaves alternate except proximally, not especially numerous; blade elliptic to subelliptic or ovate, 2–12 × 3–6 mm, base acute, rounded, or subcordate, margin entire, gray to almost green scurfy. Flowers solitary or paired in axils, staminate near branch ends, calyx 5-cleft. Fruiting bracteoles simulating tiny bracteate leaves, sessile, ovate, compressed, 1–2 × 1 mm, united to apex, abruptly acute to acuminate, entire, faces plane. Seeds brownish, 0.8–1 mm.
Phenology: Flowering Jun–Oct.
Habitat: Saline substrates in valley bottoms, playas, and along drainages with greasewood, rabbitbrush, shadscale, and sagebrush
Elevation: 1000-2100 m
Calif., Nev., Oreg.
Atriplex pusilla is closely similar to, and possibly a near ally of, the geographically disjunct A. parishii complex of the Great Valley of California, which it simulates in all main features. The very tiny fruiting bracteoles, very difficult to discern among the distal bracteate leaves, are characteristic and apparently closely similar only to those of A. parishii var. minuscula. The red stems are almost universal in plants of this species.