Glasswort - Salicornia europaea
This plant has a distinct fleshy and jointed stem, with branches that are oppositely arranged. Though it appears to be leafless, its leaves are actually tiny scales. Take a closer look and you will see many variations in the growth habits of the Glasswort in this area and throughout the marsh.
Glasswort grows low in the salt marsh and may sometimes be submerged by the tide. Salt water creates a hostile environment and demands that a plant have special adaptations to survive. In this case, the fleshy stem allows the cells to resist the drying effects of salt water. Glasswort is classified as a halophyte, a category for plants that require a salty environment for survival.
If you are visiting the trail in autumn, you can easily pick out glasswort patches along the salt marsh by the vivid flame red color. This salty, fleshy plant has been used to give a salty tang to salads, and another of its common names, Pickleweed, comes from the use of young glasswort stems to make pickles.