Norfolk Samphire (Salicornia europaea)
Marsh samphire ashes were used to make soap and glass (hence its other old English name, “glasswort.”) In the 14th century glassmakers located their workshops near regions where this plant grew, since it was so closely linked to their trade.
Samphires of all kinds have long been eaten in England. The leaves were gathered early in the year and pickled or eaten in salads with oil and vinegar. It is mentioned by Shakespeare in King Lear:
Half-way down Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade! (Act IV, Scene VI)
This refers to the dangers involved in collecting rock samphire on sea cliffs.
Marsh samphire genus salicornia bigelovii is being investigated as a potential biodiesel source that can be grown in coastal areas where conventional crops cannot be grown.
Found growing in a brackish pool behind the shingle dune…