Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered


American Glasswort Salicornia virginica


enlarge +

American Glasswort - habit
credit: stonebird/CCSA

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: Pickleweed, Saltwort, Woody Saltwort

Family: Chenopodiaceae, Goosefoot view all from this family

Description Although it has no apparent leaves or flowers, this shrubby succulent perennial has stems that turn bright red to purple. It is one of the hardiest of any salt-marsh plant.
Habit: native perennial herb or subshrub; succulent and salt-tolerant; stems prostrate to upright, jointed, fleshy, oppositely branched with pronounced joints, woody at the base; rhizomatous and forming large matted colonies.
Height: 4-28 in (10-70 cm)
Leaf: tiny scales.
Flower: inconspicuous balls, cream to pale green, 0.215 in (3 mm) wide or more.

Flower June to November.

Habitat Coastal environments: tidal marshes, salt marshes, beaches, alkaline flats, intertidal zones; to 300 ft (100 m) or higher; occasionally cultivated.

Range Atlantic coast from Newfoundland and Quebec south to Florida, west to Texas; Pacific coast from Alaska south to Florida; also found in on the Great Lakes in Ohio and Illinois; introduced and naturalized in Hawaii.

Discussion The latin name Salicornia depressa is also used. Also known as perennial glasswort, Virginia glasswort, glasswort, pickleweed, slender pickleweed, Virginia pickleweed, turtleweed, saltwort, woody saltwort, sampfire, sea asparagus, leadgrass. An obligate wetland indicator. Threatened in New Hampshire.

The taxonomy of Salicornia is confused. Some authorities place this plant in S. europaea; others in S. maritima.