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Saltwort, Turtleweed
Batis maritima
Bataceae


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.
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.


 


Roger L. Hammer
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton