T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Sarcocornia quinqueflora (Glasswort)

Kingdom:   Plantae
(Unranked):        Angiosperms
(Unranked):        Eudicots
(Unranked):        Core eudicots
Order:       Caryophyllales
Family:      Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Salicornioideae
Genus:      Sarcocornia
Species:     S. quinqueflora
Binomial name: Sarcocornia quinqueflora
Synonym: Salicornia quinqueflora
Common name: Glasswort, Beaded Glasswort, Beaded Samphire, Bead weed.

Sarcocornia quinqueflora is a common species of perennial, succulent, halophytic, coastal plant. It occurs in coastal areas of Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand it's found mostly in marsh estuarine areas and on coastal rock platforms. It is found throughout the North Island. In the South Island it is widespread on the east coast, but isn't found on the west coast.
It can form large colonies of greyish succulent stems up to 10-30cm long. The stems are completely covered in pairs of translucent leaves which are fused together forming a collar with two minute lobes. They can be green or tinged with red. The basal parts of the plant are woody and prostrate.
Throughout summer and autumn small flowers are produced on the upper parts of the branchlets.
The erect soft upper parts have an unusual salty flavour and are use in salads.

This photo show how this plant lives in contact with seawater. Notice the three mangrove seeds germinating and the bubble seaweed.