Open the Advanced Search

Yellow Glasswort

Salicornia fragilis

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:
20 centimetres tall
Marshes, mud, mudflats, saltmarshes, seaside.

Yellow, no petals
The flowers are very tiny and inconspicuous. Yellow anthers. The branches have 3 flowers per segment. One-flowered Glasswort which is a similar species only has 1 flower per segment.
The fruit is fleshy and one-seeded.
The foliage is a brighter green than most other glasswort species. Sometimes purple-tinged. The branches are erect.
Other Names:
Bristle Glasswort, Brittle Glasswort.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Salicornia fragilis, commonly known as bristle glasswort or brittle glasswort is a species of flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae. It is native to coastal areas of North America, from California to British Columbia, it is also found along the Pacific Coast of South America.

It is a small annual succulent herb, usually growing to be around 10-20 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.


Yellow Glasswort, also known as Salicornia fragilis, is a unique and fascinating plant that is commonly found in coastal areas. It is a halophyte, which means that it can tolerate and even thrive in salty environments. In this blog post, we will explore the characteristics, benefits, and uses of Yellow Glasswort.


Yellow Glasswort is a small, succulent plant that typically grows to a height of 5-20cm. Its stem is fleshy and segmented, with branches that are green when young and turn yellow as they mature. The leaves of Yellow Glasswort are reduced to small, cylindrical scales that encircle the stem. It produces small, green flowers that are unremarkable in appearance and are not often noticed.


Yellow Glasswort is found in a variety of coastal environments, including salt marshes, mudflats, and sandy beaches. It is native to Europe but has been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America, where it has become naturalized.


Yellow Glasswort is a nutritious plant that is high in vitamins and minerals. It is particularly rich in Vitamin C and has been used historically to treat scurvy, a condition caused by Vitamin C deficiency. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and antioxidants.

In addition to its nutritional benefits, Yellow Glasswort has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. In traditional medicine, it has been used to treat a range of conditions, including asthma, rheumatism, and digestive issues. Recent research has suggested that Yellow Glasswort may also have antimicrobial properties and may be effective in treating certain types of infections.


Yellow Glasswort has a variety of uses in different cultures. In some parts of the world, it is eaten as a vegetable, either raw or cooked. It has a salty and slightly sour flavor, making it a popular addition to salads, soups, and stews. In other cultures, Yellow Glasswort is used as a natural dye, producing shades of yellow, green, and brown.

Yellow Glasswort is also used as a habitat and food source for wildlife. Many species of birds, including ducks and geese, rely on Yellow Glasswort for food, while other animals use it as a shelter or nesting material.

Yellow Glasswort is a fascinating and versatile plant that has been used for centuries for its nutritional and medicinal benefits. It is a hardy and adaptable species that has managed to thrive in some of the harshest coastal environments. Whether you are looking for a nutritious vegetable, a natural dye, or a way to support local wildlife, Yellow Glasswort is a plant worth exploring.

More Information

Yellow Glasswort, like other halophytes, has the unique ability to absorb and excrete salt, allowing it to survive in environments where other plants would not be able to grow. This is due to the plant's specialized cells that are able to transport salt from the root to the leaves, where it is then excreted in the form of salt crystals on the plant's surface.

In addition to its nutritional and medicinal benefits, Yellow Glasswort has been used in environmental restoration efforts. The plant has been used to help stabilize soil and prevent erosion in coastal areas, as well as to improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients and pollutants.

Despite its many benefits, Yellow Glasswort is not without its challenges. Overharvesting and habitat loss have led to declines in some populations, and climate change and sea level rise may also threaten its survival in some areas. Conservation efforts are underway to protect this unique plant and ensure that it continues to thrive for future generations.

Yellow Glasswort is a fascinating and important plant that has played a significant role in human history and continues to provide numerous benefits today. Whether you are interested in its nutritional or medicinal properties, its uses in cooking and dyeing, or its role in environmental restoration, Yellow Glasswort is a plant worth learning more about.

Yellow Glasswort is not only a valuable plant in terms of its uses and benefits, but it also has cultural significance in some regions. In the Netherlands, for example, it is known as "Zeekraal" and is a popular ingredient in traditional Dutch cuisine. In some parts of France, it is known as "Salicorne" and is used in a variety of dishes, including salads, soups, and seafood preparations.

Yellow Glasswort has also been used in art and literature. In the Netherlands, the artist Henk Helmantel is known for his still life paintings featuring Zeekraal, which are highly sought after by collectors. In literature, Yellow Glasswort is mentioned in the poetry of the British writer John Clare, who wrote about the plant's ability to thrive in harsh coastal environments.

Finally, Yellow Glasswort is also important in terms of its role in the ecosystem. As a halophyte, it provides a habitat and food source for a variety of species, including birds, insects, and small mammals. In addition, its ability to stabilize soil and prevent erosion helps to protect the surrounding environment from damage.

Yellow Glasswort is a fascinating and versatile plant that has played an important role in human history and continues to provide numerous benefits today. Its nutritional and medicinal properties, cultural significance, and role in the ecosystem all make it a plant worth appreciating and protecting.

Yellow Glasswort also has potential applications in agriculture and food production. As a halophyte, it is able to grow in saline soils and may be a useful crop in areas where traditional crops struggle to grow due to high soil salinity. Its ability to absorb excess nutrients and pollutants also makes it a potential tool for phytoremediation, the use of plants to clean up contaminated environments.

In terms of food production, Yellow Glasswort may have potential as a salt substitute in processed foods. Its salty taste and high mineral content make it an attractive alternative to traditional sodium-based additives, which are known to contribute to health problems such as hypertension.

Yellow Glasswort also has potential as a source of bioactive compounds, which are naturally occurring substances that have a beneficial effect on human health. Recent research has shown that Yellow Glasswort contains compounds with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, suggesting that it may have potential as a natural source of health-promoting compounds.

In conclusion, Yellow Glasswort is a plant with numerous potential applications in agriculture, food production, and human health. Its unique characteristics and benefits make it a plant worth exploring further for its potential to provide sustainable solutions to some of the challenges facing our world today.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map