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Salicornia europaea (Common Glasswort)


Scientific Name

Salicornia europaea L.

Common Names

Glasswort, Common Glasswort, Marsh Samphire, Chicken Claws, Sea Asparagus, Sea Pickle


Salicornia europaea var. herbacea, Salicornia herbacea, Salicornia virginica

Scientific Classification

Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Salicornioideae
Tribe: Salicornieae
Genus: Salicornia


Salicornia europaea is an annual succulent, with much-branched, fleshy stems, growing up to 1 foot (30 cm). The leaves are actually the part that you see. These are like tubes surrounding the stem, and extend from one stem-joint to the next. It is in flower in August, and the seeds ripen in September. Flowers are very small and hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs).

How to Grow and Care

Glasswort prefers a 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, it can succeed in gardens if sown as soon as the seed is ripe in the autumn in a well-drained soil. A very variable plant both in size and the number of branches produced – a number of subspecies are recognised. 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… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Glasswort


Salicornia europaea traditionally grows along the coast. Once described as the poor man's Asparagus this is now fast becoming a trendy garnish in many of the gourmet restaurants. That said, this is a fantastic vegetable in its own right or can be made into a wonderful pickled vegetable… – See more at: Sea Asparagus – A Brilliant Little Green Miracle.


Native to the coasts of western Europe, including Britain.


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