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Annual Seablite

Suaeda maritima

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Amaranthaceae (Amaranth)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Beaches, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside.

Green, no petals
The flowers are situated in groups of 1 to 3 in the axil's of the upper leaves. They are minute and green or purplish. 5 sepals and no petals.
Fairly insignificant. A dry seed encased in a pericarp.
A hairless, erect annual coastal flower. The succulent leaves are short, cylindrical and pointed. They turn reddish-purple later in the year.
Other Names:
Herbaceous Seepweed, Rich's Seepweed, Sea-blite, Seaside Goosefoot, White Glasswort.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Suaeda maritima, also known as sea blite or annual sea-blite, is a salt tolerant, halophytic perennial or annual plant that is native to Europe, Asia and North America. It is a member of the Amaranthaceae family and typically grows to be about 30-60 cm tall. The plant has small, greenish-white flowers that bloom in the summer and early autumn. The leaves are linear, succulent and often covered with a white, powdery coating. It is commonly found in coastal areas, salt marshes, and sandy soils, and it can tolerate salt spray and high winds.

Suaeda maritima is commonly used in coastal restoration projects, as it helps to stabilize sandy soils and reduce erosion. It is also used as a food source for cattle and sheep, and the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. The plant is tolerant to salt and drought and can grow in saline soils.


Seablite, scientifically known as Suaeda maritima, is an annual succulent plant that is commonly found in salt marshes, coastal sand dunes, and saline soils around the world. The plant is well adapted to the harsh conditions of its habitat, such as high salinity, strong winds, and occasional flooding. It plays an important ecological role in stabilizing the soil, preventing erosion, and providing food and shelter for many animals.

Seablite has a fleshy, green stem that can reach up to 50 cm in height. The stem is usually branched and can form dense mats that cover the ground. The leaves are small and scale-like, and they are arranged in opposite pairs along the stem. The plant has small, inconspicuous flowers that are arranged in clusters at the tips of the stems. The flowers are usually green or reddish in color and are pollinated by wind or insects.

Seablite is a halophyte, which means it is adapted to live in saline soils. The plant has specialized mechanisms to cope with the high salt concentrations in its environment, such as accumulating salt in its leaves and stems, and excreting excess salt through its roots. Seablite is also able to survive flooding, as it has a high tolerance to anoxia and can continue to photosynthesize even in the absence of oxygen.

Seablite is an important food source for many animals, such as geese, ducks, and other waterfowl, as well as small mammals and invertebrates. The plant also plays a key role in stabilizing the soil and preventing erosion in salt marshes and coastal dunes. Its deep root system helps to hold the soil together and protect it from the effects of wind and water erosion.

Seablite has also been used by humans for various purposes. In some countries, the plant is used as a traditional medicine to treat various ailments, such as inflammation, digestive disorders, and respiratory problems. Seablite has also been used as a food source in some cultures, either cooked or raw, and is known for its high nutritional value.

Seablite is a fascinating plant that is well adapted to live in harsh coastal environments. Its ability to cope with high salinity and flooding makes it an important ecological player, providing food and shelter for many animals and helping to stabilize the soil. Its medicinal and nutritional properties also make it a valuable resource for human use. As we continue to face challenges from climate change and coastal degradation, the study and conservation of seablite and other coastal plants will become increasingly important.

Seablite is distributed worldwide, with a range that extends from the Mediterranean and North Africa to Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. In the United States, it can be found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, as well as in some inland saline habitats. Seablite can also thrive in disturbed areas, such as road embankments and construction sites, where the soil has been disturbed and compacted.

Despite its importance, seablite and other coastal plants face many threats, including habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, and invasive species. Coastal development and land use change can lead to the loss and fragmentation of salt marshes and dunes, which are essential habitats for seablite and many other coastal plants and animals. Rising sea levels and increased storm intensity can also cause flooding and erosion, which can further impact these habitats.

Pollution from agricultural runoff, urban development, and industrial activities can also affect the health of coastal ecosystems and the plants that depend on them. Invasive species, such as non-native grasses and shrubs, can outcompete and displace native plants, reducing the diversity and resilience of coastal communities.

To protect seablite and other coastal plants, it is important to conserve their habitats and reduce the impact of human activities on these fragile ecosystems. Efforts to restore degraded salt marshes and dunes can also help to create healthy habitats for seablite and other coastal plants and animals. In addition, research on the biology and ecology of seablite can help to inform management and conservation strategies for this important plant species.

Seablite is a remarkable plant that plays a vital role in coastal ecosystems around the world. As we face the challenges of climate change and coastal degradation, it is important to protect and conserve seablite and other coastal plants, to ensure that they continue to provide vital ecological services and resources for future generations.

Seablite is also a source of inspiration for artists and photographers who are fascinated by its unique form and texture. The plant's succulent stems, scale-like leaves, and clusters of tiny flowers create a beautiful and intricate pattern that can be appreciated up close or from a distance. Seablite's vibrant green color contrasts with the stark, sandy landscapes of salt marshes and dunes, making it a striking subject for nature photography.

Seablite is also an important research subject for scientists studying plant physiology, ecology, and evolution. The plant's adaptations to high salinity, flooding, and anoxia provide insights into how plants can cope with extreme environmental stress, and may have implications for improving crop yield and drought tolerance in agriculture. Seablite's ecological role in stabilizing the soil and providing habitat for many animals is also of great interest to ecologists studying the dynamics of coastal ecosystems.

In addition to its ecological and scientific significance, seablite has cultural and historical value as well. The plant has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and cuisine in many parts of the world, and has been the subject of folklore and legend in some cultures. Seablite and other coastal plants also played an important role in the lives of many Indigenous peoples, who depended on them for food, medicine, and spiritual practices.

In conclusion, seablite is a fascinating plant with ecological, cultural, and scientific significance. Its unique adaptations to harsh coastal environments, its role in stabilizing the soil and providing habitat for animals, and its use in traditional medicine and cuisine make it a valuable resource and a subject of study and conservation. By protecting and conserving seablite and other coastal plants, we can ensure the health and resilience of our coastal ecosystems, and continue to learn from and appreciate the natural world around us.