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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

26 July, 2016

Sea Purslane: salt of the earth

Once you get down to the shoreline in Poole harbour and other saltmarsh locations where it is muddy as opposed to sandy you find all sorts of plants not found elsewhere; it is a unique environment. Plants that grow in these conditions need to be tough to with stand the high salt content of both the ground and the air and they also have to cope with occasional entire submersion in salt water.
Sea-purslane (Atriplex portulacoides) is one of the plants that are adapted to such a life style. They thrive in drier saltmarsh areas around the high water mark but have to contend with a soaking from time to time during very high tides.
A shrubby plant with greyish leaves and not much to look at but the leaves can be eaten as a salad plant or used as a herb in cooking. The leaves are thick and crunchy and have a salty flavour, I wonder why?