Scientific name Salicornia agg. saltmarsh
Common name Glasswort saltmarsh
Community code SM1A

 

SM1A: Salicornia agg. saltmarsh  SM1A: Salicornia agg. saltmarsh  SM1A map: Salicornia agg. saltmarsh

Download full pdf synopsis: SM1A

 

Vegetation

Annual Salicornia species may be the only vascular plants found in this community, which even later in the summer may remain distinctly open. Frequently, small clumps of Puccinellia maritima or Spartina agg. may occur, but these provide sparse cover. Suaeda maritima is only occasional but now and then can be abundant, giving this community a quite different appearance. Other vascular species are rare.  Vegetation height is around 20 cm by the end of the growing season. There is often an extensive algal mat and macroalgae are also occasionally found persisting here; Fucus spiralis is probably the main species but small specimens of Ascophyllum nodosum and Ulva lactuca may also occur.

 

Ecology,

This is an annual community, mainly of the lower fringe of saltmarsh where it is regularly inundated. It may also occur elsewhere in the marsh, on creek sides, depressions and disturbed ground. It can develop on a range of substrates but they are usually fairly firm underfoot. Conditions are base-rich.

 

Sub-communities

No sub-communities have been described for this community.

 

Similar communities

This is a very distinct community with which the only confusion is probably offered by community SM2 in which Salicornia agg. is also a constant and sometimes abundant. That community, however, is found slightly higher in the marsh, allowing Puccinellia maritima to provide much greater cover and Limonium humile, Spergularia media and Aster tripolium to establish.

 

Conservation value

Almost all examples of this pioneer vegetation qualify as EU HD Annex I habitat 1310 Salicornia mud. It is typically a very species-poor community, but the species that do occur are specialists. Puccinellia fasciculata is a nationally rare species listed on the Flora Protection Order.

 

Management

These swards are typically unmanaged. The main threat to this saltmarsh community is perceived to be invasion by Spartina agg. Sea-level rises as a result of climate change could potentially have an impact, particularly in areas susceptible to coastal squeeze. Impacts from casual harvesting of Salicornia are not likely to be significant.