Salicornia rubra is an annual C3 herb (Jacobs 2001), from a small tap root, 10-40 cm tall, stems erect, branching opposite, fleshy, rather translucent, appearing jointed, pale waxy-green, often turning bright red in autumn, rubbery texture.
Leaves opposite, reduced to small, blunt scales at nodes.
Flowers inconspicuous, minute, groups of three in pits above scales at ends of branches, anthers yellow visible when flowering; flower spikes to 10 cm long, 0.3 cm wide, joints longer than thick; blooms and fruits Aug.-Oct.
Fruit dry, tiny, enclosed in old calyx.
Wetland status: OBL.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Origin: Native and European.
Habitat: High marsh, upper edges of low marsh and wet saline soil elsewhere.
Notes: Plants and seeds eaten by waterfowl (Martin et al. 1951).