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  • Salicornia is a genus of succulent, salt tolerant plants that grow in salt marshes, on beaches, and among mangroves.

  • Common names for the genus include glasswort, pickleweed, and marsh samphire; these common names are also used for some species not in Salicornia.

  • The Salicornia species are small, usually less than 30 cm tall, succulent herbs with a jointed horizontal main stem and erect lateral branches.

  • The leaves are small and scale-like and as such the plant may appear leafless. Many species are green, but their foliage turns red in autumn.

  • The hermaphrodite flowers are wind pollinated, and the fruit is small and succulent and contains a single seed.

  • Salicornia species can generally tolerate immersion in salt water. They use the c4 pathway to take in carbon dioxide from the surrounding atmosphere.

  • Salicornia europaea is highly edible, either cooked or raw.

  • Samphire is usually cooked, either steamed or microwaved, and then coated in butter. After cooking, it resembles seaweed in colour, and the flavour and texture are like young spinach stems or asparagus, and despite its texture when raw, after cooking is not at all stringy or tough.

  • Samphire is very often used as a suitably maritime accompaniment to fish or seafood.

  • The ashes of glasswort and saltwort plants and of kelp were long used as a source of soda ash (mainly Sodium carbonate) for glassmaking and soapmaking.

  • There are experimental fields of Salicornia in Eritrea, Africa and Sonora, Mexico aimed at the production of biodiesel.

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