Glasswort

One of the most characteristic salt tolerant plants is glasswort, named for its fleshy, glass like stems. Its botanical name is Sarcocornia quinqueflora, and the Māori name is ureure after its upright stems.

It grows in spreading patches and is often reddish in colour but dies back to mud level in winter. It is very important in intercepting sediment and often grows in elevated patches, or regenerates on new surfaces. It creates secure homes for many estuary animals such as crabs, and therefore is a favoured habitat for food for coastal birds like kingfishers.

Glasswort

Glasswort on left of photo in dry winter conditions—photo Philip Simpson