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? 

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