Plant Guide > Herbs > Samphire herb

Samphire herb

Samphire (Crithmum maritimum, Linn.) is a European perennial herb of the Umbelliferae, common along rocky sea coasts and cliffs beyond the reach of the tide. From its creeping rootstocks short, sturdy, more or less widely branched stems arise. These bear two or three thick, fleshy segmented leaves and umbels of small whitish flowers, followed by yellow, elliptical, convex, ribbed, very light seeds, which rarely retain their germinating power more than a year.

In gardens the seed is therefore generally sown in the autumn as soon as mature in fairly rich, light, well-drained loam. The seedlings should be protected with a mulch of straw, leaves or other material during winter. After the removal of the mulch in the spring no special care is needed in cultivation. The young, tender, aromatic and saline leaves and shoots are pickled in vinegar, either alone or with other vegetables.