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Tecticornia indica (Willd.) K.A.Sheph. & Paul G. Wilson 2007 ssp. indica
pronounced: teck-tih-KORN-ee-uh IN-dik-uhsubspecies IN-dik-uh
(Amaranthaceae – the amaranth family)
synonym: Halosarcia indica (Willd.) Paul G. Wilson 1980
pronounced: hay-loh-SAR-kee-uh IN-dik-uh
common name: Samphire
Tecticornia bracts that cover the flower. It is a genus of succulent, salt-tolerant plants largely endemic to Australia. In 2007, the genus Halosarcia, together with 3 other Australian genera – Pachycornia, Sclerostegia and Tegicornia – was incorporated into Tecticornia. Samphire is the name given to a number of very different plants, often edible, that happen to grow in coastal areas, frequently on cliffs. The word usually refers to Crithmum maritinum, which is almost certainly the plant referred to in Shakespeare’s King Lear: i s from two Latin words, tectum, a roof, and cornu, a horn, referring to the
Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!
It was collected for use as a condiment, pickle, or salad ingredient.
John Gerard wrote in 1597‡:
The leaves kept in pickle and eaten in sallads with oile and vinegar is a pleasant sauce for meat, wholesome for the stoppings of the liver, milt and kidnies. It is the pleasantest sauce, most familiar and best agreeing with man’s body.
Tecticornia indica ssp. indica is endemic to tropical Africa, Madagascar, the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia, and northern Australia. It is a prostrate plant, with segments that are usually cylindrical, but sometimes barrel-shaped, 10 mm long by about 5 mm in diameter. The plants photographed grow in the salt flats in Cockle Bay.
† Principles of Botany, explained at the Republican School by Ventenat
‡ Herball, Generall Historie of Plants
Photographs taken at Cockle Bay 2012
Page last updated 8th March 2018