YELLOW GLASSWORT

Salicornia fragilis

(Formerly: Salicornia lutescens)
Goosefoot Family [Amaranthaceae]

month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8yellow
petals
petalsZ0
stem
stem8round
rarity
rarityZscarce
sex
sexZbisexual

8th Sept 2015, marshes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A brighter shade of green than all other Glassworts, hence the name Yellow Glasswort. The lower stalks are indeed pale yellow (or fawn to brown in places lower down where they may have finished).

As a backdrop behind is a rough carpet of Annual Sea-blite where the ground is a little bit higher and perhaps less wet when the tide rolls in.

The terminal spike is usually between 25 to 80mm long (unusually up to 100mm long or down to 15mm long).

The lower fertile segments are approximately cylindrical and between 3 to 5mm wide by 3 to 6mm long.



8th Sept 2015, marshes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
But it is usually erect growing to 40cm high, with either few or many branches.


8th Sept 2015, marshes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fertile segments can be either lumpy as here or fairly even and usually green to start with but becoming yellowish-green to a bright yellow as it matures. It can even sometimes be suffused with purple or red! So beware of identifying on colour alone.


8th Sept 2015, marshes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
On all Glassworts the segments are set alternately at 90° to each other, but are actually identical - it just looks like there are two different kinds of segments; but there are not; each is set at 90° to each other!

To best discriminate between species a segment needs to be studied - it is the relative sizes and shape of a segment and the relative placements of the flowers, of which there are usually 3 to each flowering segment for all species except for one species, One-flowered Glasswort (Salicornia disarticulata), where there is only a single flower to each flowering segment.



8th Sept 2015, marshes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are the minute cream-coloured projections


8th Sept 2015, marshes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
This is the best specimen for the flowers. Each tiny cream-coloured flower occupies an area delineated by grooves. Each segment should have 3 flowers. The one near the top does; but in the 90° rotated segment below the two flowers either side of the central one has fallen off.




10th Oct 2015, marshes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
One month later than the above set, the flowers have mostly finished flowering, with just browned remnants left on some specimens.


10th Oct 2015, marshes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Brown remnants of the flowers remain.


10th Oct 2015, marshes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


10th Oct 2015, marshes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


10th Oct 2015, marshes, Southport, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The view of the above specimen but at 90° rotation.


Each differing Glasswort should be identified by the shape and size of the florets on the flowering spike. Other characteristics such as overall shape and stance of the plant are not as reliable.

Glassworts are very difficult to identify, some think that there are 20 to 30 differing species in the British Isles, others think perhaps only 7 are reliably distinguishable from each other, whilst some taxonomists think there might only be 3 species. This is all to do with the phenotypic plasticity exhibited by Glassworts, with the same species exhibiting differing characteristics in the north and the south of the UK. For instance, Long-Spiked Glasswort, Yellow Glasswort and Shiny Glasswort might all be placed under the Salicornia procumbens aggregate!

Not to be confused with: Venus's Looking Glass (Legousia hybrida) a plant with similar name belonging to a differing family.

It native and is to be found not only on the lower parts of saltmarshes but also along dykes along the coasts of Britain to Central Scotland and around Ireland.


  Salicornia fragilis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Amaranthaceae  

Distribution
 family8Goosefoot family8Amaranthaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Salicornia
Salicornia
(Glassworts)

YELLOW GLASSWORT

Salicornia fragilis

(Formerly: Salicornia lutescens)
Goosefoot Family [Amaranthaceae]