Open the Advanced Search

One-flowered Glasswort

Salicornia pusilla

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Amaranthaceae (Amaranth)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Saltmarshes, seaside.

Green, no petals
Tiny inconspicuous flowers, hardly noticeable.
A fleshy, one-seeded fruit.
An annual with with green foliage, later becoming red or purplish tinged. Can be found growing in drier saltmarshes within the UK.
Other Names:
Dwarf Glasswort, Dwarf Pickleweed.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Salicornia pusilla, also known as dwarf glasswort or dwarf pickleweed, is a species of flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae. It is native to coastal areas of North and South America, specifically from California to British Columbia, and also it is found in Central and South America.

It is a small annual succulent herb, usually growing to be around 10-15 cm tall. It has greenish-yellow or reddish stems that are fleshy, and its leaves are scale-like, small and narrow. The plant is able to tolerate high levels of salt in the soil, like other glassworts. It is also edible, used in small amounts as a seasoning in cooking. The fresh plants are often used to make pickles. It is considered an invasive species in some regions and can outcompete the native vegetation if not controlled.


Salicornia pusilla, commonly known as One-flowered Glasswort, is a small annual herb that belongs to the family Amaranthaceae. It is a unique plant that grows in saline or brackish habitats, such as salt marshes, coastal mudflats, and other coastal habitats worldwide. It is a succulent plant that is well-adapted to the harsh conditions of these environments, including high salinity and flooding.

One of the distinctive features of Salicornia pusilla is its jointed, succulent stem that is green when young, and turns reddish-brown as it matures. The plant can grow up to 15 cm in height and produces small, cylindrical, greenish flowers that are arranged in clusters at the stem tips. The plant also produces small, succulent leaves that are reduced to small scales and often fall off as the plant matures.

One-flowered Glasswort is a halophyte, which means it is adapted to living in high salt environments. It has specialized structures in its leaves and stems called salt glands that allow it to excrete excess salt from its tissues. This adaptation is essential because high salt concentrations can damage plant tissues and limit their growth and survival.

One-flowered Glasswort also plays an important ecological role in salt marshes and other coastal habitats. It is a valuable food source for many animals, including shorebirds, waterfowl, and insects. Additionally, the plant's succulent tissues and salt content make it an important source of nutrients for the microorganisms that live in the surrounding soil, which helps to maintain the health of the ecosystem.

One of the most significant threats to Salicornia pusilla is habitat loss and degradation due to human activities such as coastal development, dredging, and pollution. As a result, the plant has become rare in some regions and is listed as endangered in several states in the United States. Conservation efforts are underway to protect and restore the habitats of One-flowered Glasswort, including the creation of protected areas and the implementation of habitat restoration projects.

One-flowered Glasswort is a unique and fascinating plant that has adapted to live in harsh coastal environments. Its succulent tissues, salt glands, and ecological role make it an important component of salt marshes and other coastal habitats. However, human activities are putting this plant and its habitat at risk, and it is essential to take action to protect and conserve these valuable ecosystems.

One-flowered Glasswort is also known for its nutritional value and medicinal properties. The plant is edible and has been used in traditional cuisines in many countries. It is a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. The plant has a salty taste due to its high salt content, which makes it a suitable ingredient in salads, pickles, and other dishes.

In addition to its culinary uses, One-flowered Glasswort has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. The plant is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments such as skin conditions, digestive problems, and respiratory issues. Recent studies have shown that Salicornia pusilla extracts have antimicrobial and anticancer activities, which make it a potential source of new drugs.

One-flowered Glasswort is also an important indicator species for monitoring the health of salt marshes and other coastal habitats. The presence or absence of the plant can provide valuable information about the salinity levels, nutrient availability, and other environmental factors that affect the ecosystem. Researchers and conservationists use this information to assess the impact of human activities on coastal habitats and to develop strategies for their protection and restoration.

Another interesting aspect of One-flowered Glasswort is its ability to tolerate flooding. The plant can survive in areas that are regularly flooded by seawater, and its roots can absorb oxygen from the water, which allows it to survive in low-oxygen conditions. This adaptation is important because flooding can cause oxygen depletion in the soil, which can be harmful to many plant species.

One-flowered Glasswort is also known for its ability to reduce soil salinity. The plant's roots can absorb excess salt from the soil, which helps to reduce the salinity levels in the surrounding area. This adaptation is important because high soil salinity can limit the growth of many plant species and can also affect the availability of water and nutrients in the soil.

One-flowered Glasswort is a fascinating plant that has adapted to live in extreme coastal environments. Its unique features, including its succulent tissues, salt glands, and ability to tolerate flooding and reduce soil salinity, make it an important component of salt marshes and other coastal habitats. The plant's nutritional and medicinal value, ecological role, and importance as an indicator species highlight the need for conservation efforts to protect and preserve these valuable ecosystems.

One-flowered Glasswort also has cultural significance in many regions where it grows. The plant has been used for centuries by indigenous communities for food, medicine, and other purposes. For example, the plant has been used by the Inuit people of Canada to treat scurvy and as a food source during times of food scarcity. In many cultures, One-flowered Glasswort is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.

In some regions, One-flowered Glasswort is also used for industrial purposes. The plant's high salt content makes it a suitable source of sodium for the production of certain industrial products, such as soap and glass. The plant is also being studied for its potential use in the production of biofuels and other renewable energy sources.

One-flowered Glasswort is a plant that has adapted to survive in some of the harshest environments on Earth. Its unique features and ecological role make it an important component of salt marshes and other coastal habitats. However, the plant and its habitat are under threat from human activities such as coastal development, pollution, and climate change. It is essential to take action to protect and conserve these valuable ecosystems for future generations.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map