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Red Glasswort Salicornia europaea (Salicornia rubra)


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Red Glasswort - habit
credit: Weft/CCSA

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Alternate name: Red Saltwort, Red Swampfire

Family: Chenopodiaceae, Goosefoot view all from this family

Description This low, succulent plant has round fleshy stems which turn bright red in late summer or fall.
Habit: native annual subshrub or herb; succulent; stems branched or not; forms large colonies.
Height: 2-10 in (5-25 cm)
Leaf: tiny scales, opposite.
Flower: inconspicuous green ball, 0.05 in (1 mm) wide; held in cluster of 3, 0.125 in (3 mm) long, in leaf axils.
Fruit: small, succulent, olive green, oval, 0.05 in (1 mm) long.

Flower August to November.

Habitat Seasonally wet, saline or alkaline places: coastal beaches and sands, inter-tidal zones, mud flats, salt marshes, rarely also naturalized in saline areas along highways; 300-5200 ft (100-1600 m).

Range Native to western and central North America, from Alaska south to California, east to New Mexico, northeast to Kansas and Iowa, north to Minnesota, Manitoba, and NWT; introduced and naturalized in Quebec, Michigan, and Connecticut.

Discussion Also known as red swampfire, pickleweed, red pickleweed, marsh samphire, samphire, glasswort, common glasswort, slender glasswort. Threatened in Minnesota. Red glasswort is salt-tolerant and an obligate wetland indicator. It is a pioneer species of mud flats and intertidal zones. It was used for centuries to produce a soda-rich ash for glass-making.