(glassworts; family Chenopodiaceae)
A genus of annual herbs and some woody perennials that have succulent leaves in opposite pairs, so fused to the stem and to each other that at first sight the plants appear to consist of jointed, cylindrical, fleshy segments, with only the tips of the leaves free. The flowers are solitary, or in groups of 3, in the leaf axils, and are almost wholly immersed in the fleshy stems. They each consist of 1 or 2 stamens and a single carpel. They inhabit salt marshes in coastal or arid regions, and are important colonists of tidal mud-flats. They have extremely high internal suction pressures (up to more than 100 atmospheres) which enable them to take up water from strongly saline solutions. Some species are pickled and eaten as a vegetable. The genus has 13 cosmopolitan species.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.