Atriplex arenaria is an annual C4 herb (Jacobs 2001), 20- 50 cm tall, erect to prostrate, widely branched.
Leaves opposite below, alternate above, stalk short, blade 1-3 cm long, oblong, elliptic, or widest above middle, tip rounded to tapered, base tapered, surface silvery-scaly, margins mostly smooth.
Flowers tiny, dull, sexes separate, male spikes 1-2 cm long, female flowers in small, rounded tight clusters, enclosed by two small toothed bracts.
Fruit dry, 1-seeded, to 0.6 cm with 4-7 triangular teeth, surrounded by enlarged, fleshy, toothed bracts, appearing spiky.
Wetland status: FAC-.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Along beaches, above high tide line, margins of salt marshes.