New York Natural Heritage Program
Dwarf Glasswort
Salicornia bigelovii Torr.
Dicots

General Description [-]
Dwarf Glasswort is an annual, fleshy, erect herb with thick jointed stems (up to 6 mm wide), growing up to 60 centimeters in height (but is often much shorter). Its leaves are opposite, sessile, and fleshy, enclosing the stems, the tips scale-like and mucronate (pointed). The flowers are arranged in triangular groups of 3, emerging from fleshy bracts near the tip of each stem. Each fruit (a utricle) holds a single seed 1 to 1.5 mm long (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). The entire plant, beginning with the tips, may turn red as it ages, especially in autumn.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
The key characters for identification are the leaf tips and thick stems, so this species can be identified in either vegetative or reproductive form.

Similar Species [-]
The only other species of Salicornia known from New York is Salicornia depressa. It has obtuse or subacute leaf and bract tips, contrasting with the acute and mucronate leaf tips of S. bigelovii, and its stems are half as thick as S. bigelovii (FNA 2003). Sarcocornia, a closely related genus, has a similar form with fleshy, scale-like leaves. Sarcocornia perennis, the only New York species, differs from Salicornia species in being a perennial, in having many rhizomatous, mat-forming, vegetative stems, and in having its flowers arranged in a row rather than in a triangle.
Dwarf Glasswort Images
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Images of Similar Species
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The Best Time to See
The plants emerge in July and may persist until October.
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Vegetative Flowering Fruiting
The time of year you would expect to find Dwarf Glasswort vegetative (blue shading), flowering (green shading) and fruiting (orange shading) in New York.