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Marsh Samphire - Salicornia europaea

Foraging and identification of Marsh Samphire

Edible plant - novice Season - Summer Other common names Glasswort, Chicken Toe, Common Glasswort, Pickle Weed

Scientific name meaning: Salicornia is derived from Sal, Latin for salt, and Cornus, Latin for horn. Eurpoaea means of Europe

Marsh Samphire Habitat


Found in estuaries, and along mudflats and salt marshes all around the UK

Marsh Samphire plant structure

Overall structure

An upright plant with jointed stems that branch into more jointed stems. Its appearance is not dissimilar to the feet of poultry



Very jointed stems. The small, lobe-like leaves appear at each of the joints

Sea Blite

Possible lookalikes

Only likely to be confused with other Glassworts and Sea Blite, both of which are also edible


Use as a food Eaten raw or cooked, it is very salty. Good steamed or fried, and added to soups for its saltiness.

It can also be pickled.

Best harvested in summer, it gets rather woody later in the year. If harvesting, leave 5cm of greenery on the plant to allow new shoots to form.

The seeds can also be eaten, but they are rather small and fiddly to harvest Hazards When collecting from shorelines, be aware of any pollution such as sewage outlets. Also, most of the UK coastline is designated SSSI, so ensure you are allowed or have permission to forage

Use in herbal medicine None known. If you known of any, please let us know. If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner Other uses Was used to make glass fusing its ashes with sand. Importance to other species The seeds are eaten by wading birds

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!


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