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Edible uses


Young stems - raw or cooked as a potherb, added to soups etc[1][2][3][4][5]. The plant is at its best for eating in late summer[6]. The stems are very succulent, but have a thin woody core that is easily removed[264, K]. They are best harvested when about 15cm long, the top 10cm being used leaving the bottom 5cm to produce new shoots[6]. They require little cooking, just adding them to a soup for the last few minutes of cooking is sufficient[7]. The plant has a salty flavour[5] and makes a very pleasant raw nibble[K]. The young shoots can be pickled after first boiling them in their own salted water[5].

Seed[8]. Rich in protein[5]. The seed is rather small and fiddly to utilize[K].

An edible oil is obtained from the seed. A high quality, it is similar to safflower oil (Carthamnus tinctoria)[5].


Unknown part


Material uses

The ashes obtained from burning this plant are rich in potash and are used in making soap or glass[9][10][2][11][12]. The ashes can also be used as a soap.

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

There are no medicinal uses listed for Salicornia europaea.


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown in situ as soon as ripe in a well-drained outdoor bed[3].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Salicornia europaea. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a rich organic soil with ample nitrogen and regular watering[6]. This species is little, if at all, cultivated and its exact requirements are not clearly understood[6]. It is not known if the plant will require periodic inundation by salty water to grow well[6]. Glasswort is difficult to grow in cultivation[3][6], it can succeed in gardens if sown as soon as the seed is ripe in the autumn in a well-drained soil[3].

A very variable plant both in size and the number of branches produced - a number of subspecies are recognised[6]. The best forms for food production are bushy plants up to 40cm tall with an upright habit that keeps the branches out of the mud[6]. The form sometimes classed as a distinct species (as S. ramosissima Woods.) has this habit and habitat and so is the best form for using in cultivation experiments[6]. When seeking seed for cultivation, try to collect from plants with this habit and also choose plants nearer the high tide mark that therefore receive less inundation[6].

The edible leaves are occasionally sold in local markets[11].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Salicornia europaea. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Salicornia europaea.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Salicornia europaea
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
  • Leaves (Unknown use)
  • Unknown part (Oil)
  • Seed (Unknown use)
Material uses
  • Unknown part (Cleanser)
  • Unknown part (Potash)
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Salinity
  • Strong wind
  • Maritime exposure
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? 1.01.1 Mabey. R. Food for Free. Collins ISBN 0-00-219060-5 (1974-00-00)
  2. ? Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
  3. ? Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round. Hamlyn (1980-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.1 Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
  5. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  6. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Vegetables Macmillan Reference Books, London. ISBN 0 333 62640 0 (1995-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.1 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.1 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.1 Mabey. R. Plants with a Purpose. Fontana ISBN 0-00-635555-2 (1979-00-00)
  11. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  13. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)