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Saltwort, Turtleweed
Batis maritima
Bataceae
 

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also butterfly gardens in saline areas along the coasts.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A common element of salt marshes and openings in tidal swamps.

Availability: Grown by enthusiasts.

Description: Small to medium succulent shrub with spreading branches, or prostrate shrub, rooting at the branch tips and covering large areas. Leaves smooth, pale green, succulent, scented when crushed.

Dimensions: Typically 2-4 feet in height. Spreading and much broader than tall.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Southern United States south to the Monroe County Keys; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Coastal wetlands.

Soils: Wet, inundated to periodically innundated brackish or saline soils.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: High; tolerates flooding by salt water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.

Drought Tolerance: Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: Yellowish-white.

Flower Characteristics: Inconspicuous. Dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants.

Flowering Season: Spring-summer.

Fruit: Green, fleshy, cylindrical berry.

Wildlife and Ecology: Larval host plant for great southern white (Ascia monuste) butterflies, and possibly larval host for eastern pygmy-blue (Brephidium isophthalma) butterflies. Nectar plant for eastern pygmy-blue and other butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed, ground layering and division.

Comments: This is a pioneer plant of salt marshes tha can tolerate very high levels of salt in the soil. It can be eaten as a salad herb, but the leaves are very salty.


Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: James Johnson, 2014
In habitat, Everglades National Park, Florida

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton


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