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Rock Samphire

Edible Edible Spring Spring Summer Summer

Once a popular and highly regarded plant, Rock Samphire has now been taken over by Marsh Samphire which is in a different family and tastes completely different apart from the saltiness.
Rock Samphire is a bit of a Marmite plant, people love it or hate it.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Rock Samphire, Rock Samphire, Sea fennel, Sea Asparagus, Crest Marine
Scientific Name Crithmum maritimum
Season Start May
Season End Oct
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Leaves

Thick, green, succulent, antler like fronds that are almost round in cross section.

Flowers

Umbels of white to green flowers with five petals.

Habitat

Coastal on cliffs, sea defences, walls next to the sea and on the foreshore. It will grow inland if planted in light well drained soil.

Smell

Pungent, some say fennel like or slightly aniseedy others get the smell of creosote or oil.

Taste

Salty fennel or parsley or some say creosote.

Frequency

Common along the South and West coasts of England and Wales and South West Scotland.

Collecting

It can often be found at the base of cliffs or sea defences or rocks which is much easier and safer than trying to scale dangerous cliff faces. The leaves, flower buds and stems are the best parts, it is illegal to uproot any plant in the wild.

Other Facts

Rock Samphire was highly regarded in the past, unlike now, and was harvested from the Isle of White and sent to London in casks of sea water at the end of May.
Rock Samphire is high in vitamin C and was one of the plants used by sailors to ward off scurvy.

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