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Saltwort, Turtleweed
Batis maritima

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.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

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.

References: Miami-Dade County Landscape Manual (2005).

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: Jay Horn

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Jay Horn

Copyright by: Jay Horn

Copyright by: Jay Horn

Other data on Batis maritima available from:

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