Glasswort

Glasswort2.jpgScientific Name

Salicornia virginica

Common Names

Glasswort, pickleweed, sea beans, samphire greens, sea asparagus

Range/Geographical Distribution

Along the east and west coast, ranging from northeast Canada to south Texas and northwest Canada to southern California.

Habitat

Primarily areas with a high salinity. Salt marshes and salty rockbeds are of high favor.

Description

Low-growing, waxy succulent herb stems branching from a single root system in the ground.

Size

Each stem can grow between 4 to 20 inches tall.

Predators/Ecological Importance

Glasswort is highly effective at removing selenium from soil, and is used as a phytoextractor.

Interesting Facts

Young stems of glasswort are edible. Due to the salinity of their habitat, they have a salty taste and can be pickled or used as a garnish. Additionally, the ashes of glasswort can be used in glassmaking and soapmaking. This is because when ashed, glasswort produces soda ash: an important ingredient in the aforementioned activities.

 

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