Australian Native Plants

  Enchylaena tomentosa (Ruby Saltbush)

Enchylaena tomentosa photo
Enchylaena tomentosa. This photo is from

Photograph by Raffi Kojian. Some rights reserved.    (view image details)

Enchylaena tomentosa photo
Enchylaena tomentosa plant

Photograph by Mark Marathon. Some rights reserved.    (view image details)

Enchylaena tomentosa photo
Fruiting E. tomentosa

Photograph by Murray Fagg. Some rights reserved.    (view image details)

Description and Habitat information is sourced from: Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland Government, Common saltmarsh plants of Queensland, Licensed under Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license.

Growth Characteristics information is sourced from: State Flora Catalog, Government of South Australia Licensed under Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license.


distribution map showing range of Enchylaena tomentosa in Australia

Map is from The Atlas of Living Australia web site, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License

Common Name
Ruby Saltbush

Ruby Saltbush is.a semi-woody, low-growing shrub that can grow up to 1 m tall.
Its leaves are grey/green (changing to red during dry periods), circular to D-shaped in cross-section, semi-succulent and grow up to 2 cm long.
The plant's stems are sometimes red.
A single axillary flower (inconspicuous) appears between September and May.
The fruit is succulent and varies in colour from green through to yellow and red prior to ripening. The fruit is often the most distinguishable characteristic of the species.
When not in flower, ruby saltbush is often confused with Seablite (Suaeda australis). Ruby saltbush leaves originate from the stem, whereas Seablite often has a more branched form. Also, the newly formed stems of ruby saltbush do not have the distinctive red and green stripe seen on Seablite.

Widespread in a variety of habitats. Most often found in well drained sandy soils.

Ruby Saltbush is found through most of mainland Australia, in Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria., South Australia, Western Australia. In Queensland it is less common north of Townsville and on Cape York.

Growth Characteristics
Height (m): 0.3 - 1
Spread (m): 0.5 - 1.5
Soil Texture: sand, loam, clay, limestone
Soil pH: acid soils, neutral soils, alkaliine soils
Frost Sensitivity: resistant
Minimum Rainfall (mm): 300
Flower Colour: insignificant
Flower Season: frequent

(source: SA State Flora Catalog)

Wildlife Interest
birds, fruits

Common Name:Ruby Saltbush