Herb: Dwarf Glasswort
Latin name: Salicornia bigelovii
Family: Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot Family)
Edible parts of Dwarf Glasswort:Young leaves and stems - cooked or pickled. The raw seed is inedible due to the presence of saponins, though these remain in the seed-meal when the oil is extracted. The seed contains about 30% of an edible oil and 35% protein. The oil is highly polyunsaturated and similar to safflower oil (Carthamnus tinctorius) in fatty-acid composition. It has a pleasant nut-like flavour and a texture similar to olive oil.
Description of the plant:
(11 3/4 inch)
Habitat of the herb:Salt marshes, often colonising new areas of mud flats through its prolific seed production.
Other uses of Dwarf Glasswort:The seed contains about 30% oil.
Propagation of the herb:Seed - we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in situ as soon as it is ripe if this is possible, otherwise sow in spring.
Cultivation of Dwarf Glasswort:Salt marshes, often colonising new areas of mud flats through its prolific seed production.
Medicinal use of the herb:None known
Known hazards of Salicornia bigelovii:The seed contains saponins. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.