From San Luis Obispo to Baja California, Mexico, including 6 of the 8 Channel Islands (not found on Santa Barbara or San Nicholas islands) .
Historically, quite rare in San Diego .
Elevation 3-460 m (10-1509 ft) . Associated with clay or alkaline soils supporting grasslands, coastal sage scrub, bluff scrubs, or coastal dune vegetation .
Some herbarium specimens need to be differentiated from Atriplex pacifica, and further taxonomic work is needed to clearly delineate the two species . Coulter’s saltbush has a more pronounced and serrated fruiting bract that Pacific saltbush .
Perennial herb in the Chenopodiaceae family .
Blooming period March to October .
Threatened by development in the thin microhabitat at the edge of sea bluffs where species of saltbush thrive . Possibly threatened by feral herbivores .
Species may be nearing extirpation from mainland California . All mainland populations should be protected with adequate buffers.