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Shrubby Seablite

Suaeda vera

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Plant Profile

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

Yellow, no petals
Very small yellowish-green flowers with 3 stigmas. The similar looking Annual Seablite (Suaeda maritima) has 2 stigmas.
Fairly insignificant. A dry seed encased in a pericarp.
Shrubby Seablite is a greyish evergreen bush with woody stems. The young shoots are reddish. It has short, cylindrical leaves that are rounded at both the base and the tip.
Other Names:
Alkali Seepweed, Salicornia, True Sea Blite.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Suaeda vera, also known as True Sea Blite or Salicornia, 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 vera 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. It is also used as an ornamental plant, and it is gaining popularity as a vegetable crop in the arid regions due to its tolerance to salt and drought.


Shrubby Seablite, or Suaeda vera, is a plant species that is found in coastal regions of Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. It is known for its distinctive appearance and ability to thrive in harsh and salty environments. In this blog post, we will explore the features and characteristics of this fascinating plant.

Appearance and Habitat

Shrubby Seablite is a small, bushy plant that grows to a height of about 1-2 meters. It has a greyish-green color, with fleshy leaves that are small and needle-like. The stems are thick and woody, and the plant has a compact, rounded shape.

This plant species is mainly found in coastal regions, especially in salt marshes and other saline habitats. It is a halophyte, which means it has adapted to living in environments with high salt concentrations. The plant can tolerate high levels of salt and is often found growing in areas that are periodically flooded by seawater.


The ability of Shrubby Seablite to survive in harsh and salty environments is due to its unique adaptations. One of the most important adaptations is the development of specialized structures in the leaves, which help the plant to cope with high levels of salt.

These structures, known as salt glands, are found on the surface of the leaves and are responsible for excreting excess salt from the plant. The salt glands are made up of a cluster of cells that transport salt ions out of the plant and onto the leaf surface, where it can be washed away by rain or sea spray.

Another adaptation of Shrubby Seablite is its ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) through its leaves at night. This is a unique feature among plants, as most plants absorb CO2 during the day through tiny pores on the surface of their leaves called stomata. By absorbing CO2 at night, Shrubby Seablite is able to conserve water during the day when the stomata are closed to prevent water loss.

Ecological Importance

Shrubby Seablite plays an important role in coastal ecosystems, particularly in salt marshes and other saline habitats. It helps to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion by trapping sediment with its roots and stems. The plant also provides important habitat for a variety of animals, including insects, birds, and small mammals.

In addition, Shrubby Seablite is an important food source for some animals, such as geese and other waterfowl. The seeds and leaves of the plant are edible and can be used in salads and other dishes.

Shrubby Seablite is a remarkable plant species that has evolved unique adaptations to survive in harsh and salty environments. Its ability to cope with high levels of salt and absorb carbon dioxide at night make it an important species in coastal ecosystems. By stabilizing the soil and providing habitat for a variety of animals, Shrubby Seablite plays a vital role in maintaining the health and diversity of these fragile environments.

Uses and Conservation Status

Apart from being an important component of coastal ecosystems, Shrubby Seablite has also been used for a variety of purposes by humans. In some areas, the plant has been traditionally used for medicinal purposes. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments such as fever, coughs, and rheumatism. The leaves of the plant have also been used as a condiment and a flavoring agent in food.

However, the plant is not commonly used for these purposes anymore, and it is mostly valued for its ecological importance. Unfortunately, like many other coastal plant species, Shrubby Seablite is under threat due to habitat loss and degradation. Human activities such as urbanization, agriculture, and industrial development are among the main factors contributing to the decline in populations of this species.

Conservation efforts are being made to protect and conserve the remaining populations of Shrubby Seablite. In some areas, the plant is protected by law, and conservation organizations are working to raise awareness of the importance of preserving these coastal ecosystems.

Final Thoughts

Shrubby Seablite is a fascinating plant species that has evolved unique adaptations to survive in harsh and salty environments. It plays an important ecological role in coastal ecosystems and has been used for a variety of purposes by humans. However, the plant is under threat due to habitat loss and degradation, and conservation efforts are necessary to protect and conserve this valuable species.

More Information

One of the reasons why Shrubby Seablite is important is its ability to sequester carbon. Sequestration is the process of removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the plant tissues or soil. Coastal wetlands, such as salt marshes, are known to be highly efficient carbon sinks, which means they are able to absorb and store large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. Shrubby Seablite is a key component of salt marsh ecosystems, and it plays an important role in the carbon sequestration process.

Another interesting feature of Shrubby Seablite is its response to changes in temperature and salinity. Research has shown that the plant is able to adapt to changes in these environmental factors by altering its morphology and physiology. For example, when the plant is exposed to high temperatures, it can reduce the size of its leaves to minimize water loss. Similarly, when the salinity of the soil is high, the plant can increase the size of its salt glands to excrete more salt.

In addition to its ecological importance, Shrubby Seablite is also a visually striking plant species that is popular among gardeners and horticulturists. Its unique appearance and ability to grow in challenging conditions make it a popular choice for xeriscaping and landscaping projects in coastal areas.

In conclusion, Shrubby Seablite is a remarkable plant species that has evolved a range of unique adaptations to survive in harsh and saline environments. Its ecological importance as a carbon sink and habitat provider cannot be overstated, and efforts to protect and conserve this valuable species are essential for the long-term health and sustainability of our coastal ecosystems.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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