Glasswort Samphire


Glasswort Samphire

Latin Name

Sarcocornia perennis


Forms mats low on estuarine salt marshes and along rocky shores above the high-tide mark. Sarcocornia pillansii (whole coast) forms shrubs at the upper levels of saltmarshes.


A sprawling perennial succulent. Stems jointed; no obvious leaves. Flowers are tiny, arranged in threes at stem nodes. It is 30mm tall. It’s related Species: Sarcocornia littorea (Namaqualand - Agulhas) is up to 1m tall. Glasswort stems are thick, flat; each joint ends in a gondola-like tip.

Salicornia meyeriana (Namaqualand-Durban) grows annually and thus has a very short tap-root; forms low bushes with slender, woody branches in the upper zones of estuarine marshes. Flowers are arranged in threes.

Field Notes

Often referred to as “sea asparagus” or “sea beans,” it is highly likely that you will come across it while exploring the coastline of South Africa. It is also found in North America, Europe and Asia.

Glasswort Samphire is edible and is one of the few wild foods that are sold commercially. It has a salty taste and it great for mixing with salads and pasta. It also goes well cooked with seasonal vegetables, lamb and fish.

Kruger National Park - South African Safari