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Succession is concerned with community development over time. Find out more in our general section on succession.

Salicornia

Salicornia

The commonest species of Salicornia is Salicornia europaea. Despite how it might appear in the picture Salicornia does not tower over people. It grows to about 35 cm maximum height. It's a well known pioneer plant of salt marshes. It grows in similar spots to Spartina but not as well as Spartina on soft mud. It does not have salt glands but has the ability to retain water making it very succulent (a common feature in salt marsh plants). This keeps its internal salt concentration lower. The plant does not have leaves, this reduces transpiration. The stems are photosynthetic. It is shallow rooted so it can't survive in areas with strong water currents. Salicornia is an annual plant regrowing from seed every Spring.

The common names of this plant are glasswort, poor man's asparagus and pickle weed. The last two names indicate its use as human food. Nowadays it tends to be eaten as a curiosity in expensive restaurants, so it probably should be renamed rich man's novelty vegetable. The seeds of the plant are eaten by wading birds.


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