Salicornia europaea

From Wikipedia

Salicornia europaea
Salicornia europaea MS 0802.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Salicornia
S. europaea
Binomial name
Salicornia europaea
Synonyms [1]
  • Salicornia annua Sm.
  • Salicornia biennis Afzel. ex Sm.
  • Salicornia brachystachya (G.Mey.) D.König
  • Salicornia herbacea L.
  • Salicornia simonkaiana Soó
  • Salicornia stricta Dumort.
Habitat on the bank of the Étang d'Ingril, Hérault, France
Salicornia europaea (autumn), Lake Notoro, Abashiri, Hokkaido, Japan
Salicornia europaea baku Azerbaijan 2006

Salicornia europaea, known as common glasswort [2] or just glasswort, is a halophytic annual dicot flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae. Glasswort is a succulent herb also known as ‘Pickle weed’ or ‘ Marsh samphire’. As a succulent, it has high water content, which accounts for its slightly translucent look and gives it the descriptive name “glasswort.” To some people, it is known as “chicken toe” because of its shape. To others, it is called “saltwort.” [3] It grows in various zones of intertidal salt marshes, on beaches, and among mangroves. [4]


Glasswort plants are relatively small and have jointed, bright green stems. During the fall, these sea asparagus looking plants turn red or purple. Their leaves are small and scale like, and they produce fleshy fruits that contain a single seed. [5]

Like most members of the subfamily Salicornioideae, Salicornia species use the C3 carbon fixation pathway to take in carbon dioxide from the surrounding atmosphere. [6]


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and soapmaking.[ citation needed] The introduction of the Leblanc process for the industrial production of soda ash superseded the use of plant sources in the first half of the 19th century.[ citation needed]

Culinary use

Salicornia europaea is edible, either cooked or raw. [5] In the UK, it is one of several plants known as samphire (see also rock samphire); the term samphire is believed to be a corruption of the French name, herbe de Saint-Pierre, which means "St. Peter's herb". [7]

Samphire is usually cooked, either steamed or microwaved, and then coated in butter or olive oil. Due to its high salt content, it must be cooked without any salt added, in plenty of water. After cooking, it resembles seaweed in colour, and the flavour and texture are like young spinach stems, asparagus, or artichoke. Samphire is often used as a suitably maritime accompaniment to fish or seafood. [8]

Pharmacological research

In South Korea, Phyto Corporation has developed a technology of extracting low-sodium salt from Salicornia europaea, a salt-accumulating plant. The company claims the naturally-derived plant salt is effective in treating high blood pressure and fatty liver disease by reducing sodium intake. [9] The company has also developed a desalted Salicornia powder containing antioxidative and antithrombus polyphenols, claimed to be effective in treating obesity and arteriosclerosis, as well as providing a means to help resolve global food shortages. [10]

Environmental uses

Salicornia europaea is a new candidate plant species for using in effective phytoremediation of cadmium-contaminated saline soils [11]

Growing Salicornia

Salicornia prefers a light, sandy soil (or a well-drained soil) and a sunny position. Samphire can be planted out once the danger of frosts is past. Salicornia is best watered with a saline solution of 1 teaspoon of proper sea salt in a pint of water. [12] A study showed that salicornia grow the best in condition of 200 mM NaCl [13]

Harvest shoots from June to August. After that time shoots will become woody. Treat samphire as a slow-growing cut-and-come-again crop and leave a month between each cut. [12]


  1. ^ "Salicornia europaea L.". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 21 October 2015 – via The Plant List.
  2. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ "Glasswort a tasty treat". 29 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Glasswort-(Salicornia europaea)". 8 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Salicornia europaea", page of the Plants for a Future website. Retrieved July 14, 2007.
  6. ^ Kadereit, G.; Borsch, T.; Weising, K.; Freitag, H. (2003). "Phylogeny of Amaranthaceae and Chenopodiaceae and the evolution of C4 photosynthesis". International Journal of Plant Sciences. 164 (6): 959–86. doi: 10.1086/378649. S2CID  83564261.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list ( link)
  7. ^ Davidson, Alan (2002). The Penguin Companion To Food (Penguin), p. 828. ISBN  978-0-14-200163-9. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Completely Revised and Updated (Scribner, New York), p. 317. ISBN  978-0-684-80001-1.
  8. ^ "Food ingredients". BBC.
  9. ^ Panth, Nisha; Park, Sin-Hee; Kim, Hyun; Kim, Deuk-Hoi; Oak, Min-Ho (2016). "Protective Effect of Salicornia europaea Extracts on High Salt Intake-Induced Vascular Dysfunction and Hypertension". International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 17 (7): 1176. doi: 10.3390/ijms17071176. PMC  4964547. PMID  27455235.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list ( link)
  10. ^ Rahman, Md. Mahbubur; Kim, Myung-Jin; Kim, Jin-Hyoung; Kim, Sok-Ho; Go, Hyeon-Kyu; Kweon, Mee-Hyang; Kim, Do-Hyung (2018). "Desalted Salicornia europaea powder and its active constituent, trans-ferulic acid, exert anti-obesity effects by suppressing adipogenic-related factors". Pharmaceutical Biology. 56 (1): 183–191. doi: 10.1080/13880209.2018.1436073. PMC  6130585. PMID  29521146.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list ( link)
  11. ^ Ozawa, T. ; Miura, M. ; Fukuda, M. ; Kakuta, S. (2009). "Cadmium tolerance and accumulation in a halophyte Salicornia europaea as a new candidate for phytoremediation of saline soils". Scientific Report of the Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Osaka Prefecture University. 60: 1–8.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list ( link)
  12. ^ a b "How To Sow & Grow Samphire".
  13. ^ Komaresofla, Behzad Razzaghi; Alikhani, Hossein Ali; Etesami, Hassan; Khoshkholgh-Sima, Nayer Azam (June 2019). "Improved growth and salinity tolerance of the halophyte Salicornia sp. by co–inoculation with endophytic and rhizosphere bacteria". Applied Soil Ecology. 138: 160–170. doi: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2019.02.022.