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