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Crithmum maritimum - L.

Common Name Rock Samphire
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats On cliffs and rocks, or more rarely on shingle or sand, by the sea[17].
Range Coastal regions of Europe, including Britain, to the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Crithmum maritimum Rock Samphire

Crithmum maritimum Rock Samphire


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Crithmum maritimum is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cachrys maritima.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seedpod
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked[2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 27, 37]. Vaguely reminiscent of fennel, but the taste is more bitter and brackish[132]. A powerful salty flavour, it has been described by one person as tasting like 'a mixture of celery and kerosene'[238]. The leaves are used as a flavouring in salads etc[132]. Gathered in spring, the young leaves when sprinkled with salt and boiled make a very good pickle[4]. The leaves are rich in vitamin C[238]. Seed pods[4, 5, 7, 12]. They are used to make a warm aromatic pickle[2].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Carminative  Depurative  Digestive  Diuretic  Vitamin C

Rock samphire is little used in herbal medicine, though it is a good diuretic and holds out potential as a treatment for obesity[254]. It has a high vitamin C and mineral content and is thought to relieve flatulence and to act as a digestive remedy[254]. The young growing tips are carminative, depurative, digestive and diuretic[7, 238]. They are gathered when in active growth in the spring and used fresh[7, 238]. The leaves have the reputation for helping people lose weight and so are used in treating cases of obesity as well kidney complaints and sluggishness[238]. The essential oil is a digestive, a few drops being sprinkled on the food[7].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


An essential oil from the plant is used in perfumery[7].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist light sandy or gravelly soil, doing very well between stones or by a south-east facing wall[37]. Requires a warm dry well-drained sunny position and shade from the midday sun[1, 200]. Requires saline conditions[200]. Plants are best grown in moist salty soil or a very well-drained poor dry soil. When grown away from the coast, this plant requires a warm sheltered position and some protection in cold winters[238]. At one time this plant was sometimes cultivated in the vegetable garden[2], though it is quite difficult to do this successfully[1, 37]. It is difficult to grow outside its natural habitat[164].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn[1]. Sow in a cold frame and only just cover the seed[164]. Germination usually takes place within 3 - 6 weeks at 15°c[164]. One report says that the seed only has a short viability and should be sown as soon as it is ripe[238], but it has germinated well with us when sown in April in a cold frame[K]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. Division in spring[238].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

nevzat ucer   Sat Dec 8 2007

I am a collector of this(crithmum maritimum)plant and looking of it is market possibility in UK. Your information willbe thanksfull.kindly regards.

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Katarina Eriksson   Tue Sep 9 2008

I grow it in the Herb Garden at The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens and I find that once it gets going it will spread and if you pull it out on an area it may come back from the roots. I don't have salty soil so it does not taste salty, so when I tried to pickle it using 15th century resipe, it didnn't taste so good till I added more salt. Thank you for the wonderful website, I use if all the time for my herbal studies. Katarina Eriksson, Head Gardener of perennials and Herbs, Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, Califronia.

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