Salicornia europaea, known as Common Glasswort or just Glasswort, is a halophytic annual dicot flowering from August to October. It flowers in groups of three. Glasswort is found in Africa, Europe, and North America. It can be found in the low marsh and depressions, salt pans, and open creek sides. It is edible, either cooked or raw.
The plant is at its best for eating in late summer. The stems are very succulent but have a thin woody core that is easily removed. Its leaves stick out as small protrusions from the main stem. They are best harvested when about 6 inches (15 cm) long, the top 4 inches (10 cm) being used, leaving the bottom 2 inches (5 cm) to produce new shoots. The edible leaves are occasionally sold in local markets.
Light: Prefers a sunny position. Grow it in a container on your window sill or in the open ground.
Water: Best watered with a saline solution (1 teaspoon of proper sea salt in a pint of water).
Temperature: Give them medium, 50 °F (10 °C) to warm temperatures during the growing season, spring and summer. The plants go semi-dormant in winter.
Soil: Light sandy soil (or well-drained).
Glasswort prefers rich organic soil with ample nitrogen and regular watering. This species is little, if at all, cultivated, and its exact requirements are not clearly understood. It is not known if the plant will require periodic inundation by salty water to grow well.
Glasswort is difficult to grow in cultivation. However, it can succeed in gardens if sown as soon as the seed is ripe in the fall in well-drained soil. It is a very variable plant both in size and the number of branches produced.
Many subspecies and varieties are recognized. The best forms for food production are bushy plants up to 16 inches (40 cm) tall with an upright habit that keeps the branches out of the mud.
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