Salicornia is a genus of succulent, salt tolerant plants that grow in
salt marshes, on beaches, and among mangroves.
names for the genus include glasswort, pickleweed, and marsh samphire;
these common names are also used for some species not in Salicornia.
Salicornia species are small, usually less than 30 cm tall, succulent
herbs with a jointed horizontal main stem and erect lateral branches.
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.
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
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
Samphire is very often used as a suitably maritime accompaniment to fish
ashes of glasswort and saltwort plants and of kelp were long used as a
source of soda ash (mainly Sodium carbonate) for glassmaking and
are experimental fields of Salicornia in Eritrea, Africa and Sonora,
Mexico aimed at the production of biodiesel.
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