Manual of the New Zealand Flora.
4. Salicornia, Linn
4. Salicornia, Linn.
Annual or perennial leafless herbs, sometimes woody at the base. Stems cylindric, jointed, very succulent; branches opposite. Flowers minute, hermaphrodite or polygamous, sunk in cavities between the successive joints of the branches towards their tips, 3–7 together, free or connate at the base. Perianth obpyramidal, fleshy, flat at the top or rarely contracted; mouth 3–4-toothed. Stamens 1–2; anthers large, exserted, didymous. Ovary ovoid, narrowed above; styles 2, subulate, papillose. Utricle included in the spongy perianth, membranous, ovoid or oblong. Seed erect, oblong or obovoid; testa thinly coriaceous or crustaceous, hispid with hooked hairs; albumen wanting; embryo folded, radicle inferior.
A small genus of about 8 species, found on most temperate or tropical seashores, and occasionally in saline places inland. The single New Zealand species also occurs in Australia and Tasmania.
S. australis, Soland. ex Forst. Prodr. n. 489.—Stems procumbent or almost prostrate below, sometimes woody at the base, 3–12 in. long; branches numerous, jointed, ascending or erect. Joints ¼–½ in. long, ⅛–⅕ in. diam., terete below, usually faintly compressed above, shortly 2-lobed at the tip, with a narrow chin and membranous margin. Spikes terminating the branches and rather thicker than them, ½–2 in. long, the joints short, broader than long. Flowers frequently polygamous, 5–7 together on each page 586side of the branch at the top of the joints, packed side by side in a cavity between the joint and the one above, forming an almost complete ring round the branch. Perianth very thick and fleshy, broad and flat and almost quadrangular at the top, narrower at the immersed base; mouth almost closed. Stamen usually one. Utricle obliquely ovoid, membranous. Seed nearly orbicular, slightly compressed; testa crustaceous, minutely hispid; embryo with thick plano-convex cotyledons and an incumbent terete radicle.—Benth. Fl. Austral. v. 205; S. indica, R. Br. Prodr. 411 (not of Willd.); A. Rich. Fl. Nouv. Zel. 182; A. Cunn. Precur. n. 366; Raoul, Choix, 43; Hook. f. Fl. Nov. Zel. i. 216; Handb. N.Z. Fl. 233. S. quinqueflora, Bunge. ex Ung. Sternb. Vers. Syst. Salic. 59.
North and South Islands, Chatham Islands: Abundant along the shores throughout. Flowers through the summer and autumn.