Salicornia Sp. - Glasswort

Family: Amaranthaceae - Amaranth


Common Name: Pickleweed

Habit: Annual or subshrub, glabrous. Stem: generally many-branched, appearing jointed when young; internodes green to glaucous, fleshy when young. Leaf: opposite, sessile, decurrent; leaf pairs fused at base, enclosing stem. Inflorescence: spike, terminal, cylindric, dense; bracts leaf-like; flowers generally 3 per axil, sessile, sunken in fleshy bracts of distal internode, adherent to each other and to bracts, forming a 3-parted cavity at flower-fall.
Flower: calyx fleshy, 3--4-lobed at tip, +- deciduous in fruit; stamens 1--2; stigmas 2--3. Fruit: wall membranous, free from seed. Seed: vertical; seed coat membranous, pale brown, hairy [papillate].
Species In Genus: +- 50 species: +- worldwide. Etymology: (Greek: salt horn) Note: Needs study. Salicornia subterminalis moved to Arthrocnemum. [PFAF] [Jepson]


Local Species;

  1. Salicornia depressa - maritime glasswort
  2. Salicornia pacifica - American Glasswort

Species Mentioned: Salicornia sp; Including S. europaea, S. virginica, S. rubra. Glasswort Salicornia Spp. [PFAF]


Wildlife

According to Bradford Angier, snow and Canada geese eat the fleshy glasswort branches. In the autumn, the reddening glasswort stem tips are eaten by ducks, especially pintails, who are mainly interested in the seeds. [PFAF]


...Salicornia are useful oil yielding bushes and may be raised in highly saline swamps behind mangroves. Under seawater irrigation, Salicornia has been reported to produce 20 t ha-1 plant biomass, out of which, 2 t ha-1 as oilseed (NAS 1990). It withstands high salinity both of soil and water. [Dagar ASI]

Salicornia bigelowii is suitable for phytovolatilization (Lin et al., 2000). [Lichtfouse OF]

The plant Salicornia bigelovii had a high rate of Se volatilization of 420 μg Se m−2 soil day−1, and was between 10 and 100 times greater than other species tested; including salt grass, cord grass, cotton, Eucalyptus and canola (Terry and Lin 1999) as reviewed by de Filippis (2010).[Lichtfouse PBWLO]

Salicornia bigelovii
This annual dicotyledon is of interest because it is a halophyte, growing in areas that support only limited vegetation. When growing, it can be irrigated with salt water (Flider, 2004). It produces seeds at a level of 1.7 to 2.3 t/h that furnishes oil (26 to 33%) and meal with 40% protein. The oil is rich in linoleic acid and also contains oleic, palmitic, and lower levels of stearic and α-linolenic acids (Table 2.50). Its tocopherols (720 ppm) are mainly the α- and γ-compounds and its sterol esters (4%) are mainly stigmasterol, β-sitosterol, and spinasterol (Lu et al., 2000). Imai et al. (2004) have characterised the complex lipids in a related species — Salicornia europaea.[CRC TLHB]

Salicornia is used by people all over the world. In Europe, S. europaea (samphire, chicken claws, pigeon-foot, glasswort) is pickled in vinegar. An ash called barilla was made of it to use in the manufacture of soap and glass, and it is considered diuretic and antiscorbutic (Hocking 1997). East Indians also use S. brachiata for carbonate of soda, in manufacturing (Morton 1974). In Australia, S. australis shoots are pickled and eaten (Uphof 1968).
Florida species are also cooked and eaten (Morton 1968b). In the Carolinas, a decoction is used to treat colds and for whooping cough (Morton 1974).[Daniel F. Austin]

Salicornia brachiata Roxb. Chenopodiaceae. East Indies. The shoots are pickled by the natives of India.[Sturtevant EPW]

Because of their diversity halophytes are a potential source of new vegetable, forage and oilseed crops. Trials with sea water irrigation for biomass production have been encouraging, the most productive yielding 10-20 ton of biomass ha-1, and with Salicornia bigelovii yielding 2 ton ha-1 of seeds containing 28% oil and 31% protein, comparable to soya bean in yield and quality (Harborne, 1988; Briggs, 1996; Glenn et al., 1999).[Wickens, EB]


Cultivation

Growing Cycle: In the fall, glasswort matures to a beautiful shade of red, at which time the core of each stem becomes extremely fibrous, making the plant inedible. One could, however, pick the stems and chew off the outer tender section of each stem, and then discard the fibrous core. Due to this fibrousness, glasswort is not used in salads, as a cooked vegetable, or pickled at this stage of its growing cycle. Glasswort is best gathered in the spring when the new growth is abundant. However, even in the fall and winter, tender green glasswort may be available in small amounts. [PFAF]


Maritime Glasswort - Salicornia depressa

Other Names: Virginia Glasswort [PFAF]

Description

"Salicornia virginica is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil."[PFAF]

Similar Species:

General: Annual herb from a fibrous root; stems decumbent to erect, solitary, simple to freely branched, 5-50 cm tall/long, glabrous, fleshy, often reddish with age. [1.3]

Leaves: Stem leaves reduced to opposite, scalelike, fused bracts; lower scales slightly spreading, obtuse to rounded. [1.3]

Flowers: Inflorescence of fleshy spikes, the flowers sunken in depressions of the joints just above the axils and opposite the fused bracts, the joints of the spike 2.5-4 (rarely 2) mm long and half as thick as the spikes; flowers in groups of 3, central flowers in each cluster much exceeding the lateral ones; spikes 2-5 cm long.[1.3]

Fruits: Thin, papery-walled, membranous bladders enclosed by spongy flower scales, egg- to diamond-shaped; seeds 1 per bladder.[1.3]

Habitat/Range: Wet salt marshes, shorelines and saline and alkaline flats in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; infrequent in S BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to GA, KS, NV and CA. [1.3] Salty marshes and beaches[60]. W. Europe. Eastern and Western N. America.[PFAF]

Origin Status: Native [PFAF]


Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses


Synonyms


(Salicornia europaea) An annual plant of salt marshes, very rich in minerals (Schauenberg & Paris). Its ashes were used at one time in making glass (and soap). Cattle eat it greedily for its salty taste (Grieve. 1931), and, in any case, steeped in malt vinegar, the young shoots make a good pickle, and were often used as a substitute for samphire (Grieve. 1931), as is obvious when names for it like Marsh Samphire or Rock Samphire (Britten & Holland) are considered, though they say it is inferior to the proper stuff (Hepburn). Nevertheless, it was still collected in the Eastern counties of England for pickling in recent times (Grigson. 1955), and may even now be gathered still. [????]

Sometimes used as a potherb in Europe but chiefly used for pickling. [EWP]

Salicornia europaea Linnaeus, in the broad sense glasswort, marsh samphire
western Europe, North Africa, North America
Better known, like Chenopodium album, as a source of food, the gathering of Salicornia europaea from the saltmarshes of Norfolk has extended to its use there as an ointment for cracked hands and skin troubles more generally.62 It has also been consumed in that county as a spring tonic.63 [MPFT]

S. virginica; Although one senior woman said her father had told her the Haida ate this a "long time ago" no aboriginal name for the plant could be recalled and common belief is that its use as food was learned from the Norwegian settlers. It is now widely used as a food and grows in profusion on beaches throughout the Northwest Coast, covering many thousands of acres. If, in fact, it was not used formerly it may be related to the fact that precontact people had an aversion to salted foods, finding them as disagreeable as early travelers found native foods bland and tasteless.
Today this plant is picked from late May through July, or until it flowers and is too woody for use. It is picked in quantity, a gallon or more at a time, canned, "jarred," frozen, or used fresh. It is first boiled or scalded in several waters to remove the salt. Hot, it is eaten with butter or bacon; cold, it is used in salads with onion and dressed with mayonnaise or oil and vinegar. Beach asparagus is today preserved in quantity for winter use; 58 qt and 14 pt was not an uncommon amount according to one woman who had both school age children and grandchildren in the village.

beach asparagus (Salicornia virginica; syn.S. pacifica), has been used along the British Columbia and Alaska coast as an edible green. For example, the Kaigani Haida of Alaska pick the plants from May through June in quantities of a gallon or more, and use them fresh or preserved. The succulent stems are boiled or scalded in several waters, then eaten right away or canned, "jarred," frozen, or pickled. They are also eaten cold in salads with dressing. Nowadays they are preserved in quantity for winter: some people preserve over 60 quarts in a season. Apparently this food was not used traditionally, but was learned about from Norwegian and other "settlers" (Heller, 1976; Norton, 1981). The Tlingit also use it in Oriental-style dishes (Jacobs and Jacobs, 1982). [Turner&Kuhnlein]

Halophytes can be divided into salt-resistant and salt-tolerant species. Salicornia europaea and Suaeda maritima need a high soil concentration of NaCl for germination and growth and are therefore salt-resistant species. All other halophytes grow better in non-NaCl enriched soils (gardens) than in saline habitats and are therefore salt-tolerant (Hildebrandt et al. 2007). [SoilBio-30]


References


American Glasswort - Salicornia pacifica

Identification

"Salicornia virginica is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil." [PFAF]

General: Perennial herb from a branching rhizome; matted; stems prostrate, freely branched, up to 1 m long. [PFAF]

Leaves: Stem leaves reduced to opposite, scalelike, fused bracts; lower scales slightly spreading, obtuse to rounded. [PFAF]

Flowers: Inflorescence of fleshy spikes, the flowers sunken in depressions of the joints just above the axils and opposite fused bracts, the joints of the spike mostly 0.5-2.5 mm long and about as thick as the spikes; flowers in groups of 3, central flowers in each cluster barely exceeding the lateral ones; spikes 1-4 cm long. [PFAF]

Fruits: Thin, papery-walled, membranous bladders enclosed by spongy flower scales; seeds 1 per bladder, hairy.[PFAF]

Habitat / Range: Wet salt marshes and beaches in the lowland zone; common along the coast in BC; N to SE AK and S to CA and MX, also along the Atlantic and Gulf of MX coasts. [PFAF] Salty marshes and beaches[60]. W. Europe. Eastern and Western N. America. [PFAF]

Origin Status: Native [PFAF]


Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses


Cultivation & Propagation

"We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. There is some doubt over the correct application of this name, it probably refers to S. depressa[270]. The plants native habitat will give some idea of its cultivation needs."[PFAF]

"Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe if this is possible, otherwise in spring, in a greenhouse in a light sandy compost. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division might be possible in the spring."[PFAF]


Synonyms


References


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