What Is Orach?

Orach is a plant native to the island of St. Helena off the coast of Africa. It grows in tropical climates from southern India through South America and into Australia. There are two species of orach, one which produces white flowers and another which produces pink flowers. The white flower variety is called orchids while the pink variety is known as carnations (or chrysanthemums).

The name “orach” comes from the Arabic word “arab”, which means “white”. Orach is also used to refer to any other type of flowering shrub. Some people believe that the name “orach” was derived from the Greek words for white and gold, orachos and kantharoi. The first reference I have found of this origin is in a book published in 1869 by George Liddell Hart.

It is not clear how the name “orach” came to be applied to the pink variety of carnation. However, it seems likely that the pink varieties were named after orchids because they produce white flowers. Carnations are sometimes referred to as “golden carnations.”

How Can You Grow Orach?

Growing orach is easy if you have access to good soil and water. Orach plants like loose, rich soil. They don’t do well in clay or sand, as their roots are susceptible to drying out in such types of soil. If you have heavy soil or clay soil with a low water-holding capacity, it is best to build a raised bed before planting orach.

Orach prefers full sun (six or more hours of direct sunlight each day) but can grow in partial shade.

Sources & references used in this article:

Growth stage modulates salinity tolerance of New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides, Pall.) and red orach (Atriplex hortensis L.) by C Wilson, SM Lesch, CM Grieve – Annals of Botany, 2000 – Elsevier

A Chromosome-Scale Assembly of the Garden Orach (Atriplex hortensis L.) Genome Using Oxford Nanopore Sequencing by SP Hunt, DE Jarvis, DJ Larsen, SL Mosyakin… – Frontiers in Plant …, 2020 – frontiersin.org

Orach: Its Culture and Use as a Greens Crop in the Great Plains by MF Babb, JE Kraus – 1939 – books.google.com

Ecological sanitation coverage and factors affecting its uptake in Kabale municipality, western Uganda by IK Tumwebaze, CG Orach, JK Nakayaga… – International journal …, 2011 – Taylor & Francis

Small-scale Farmers Adaptation to climate Change in North-Eastern and Eastern Uganda: Evidence for Policy by CE Tiyo, EL Edroma, F Orach-Meza – Small, 2015 – researchgate.net

Orach as the Spinach of the Classical Period by AC Andrews – Isis, 1948 – journals.uchicago.edu

Identifying cholera” hotspots” in Uganda: An analysis of cholera surveillance data from 2011 to 2016 by …, MC Ngwa, WA Brooks, C Garimoi Orach – PLoS neglected …, 2017 – journals.plos.org

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