Information on Prickly Saltwort

Common Name: Prickly Saltwort
Scientific Name: Salsola kali
Irish Name: Lus an tsalainn
Family Group: Amaranthaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Prickly Saltwort is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Prickly Saltwort is a distinctive semi-prostrate annual which bears really tiny, solitary flowers in the leaf-axils, each one enclosed in a pair of bracts and 5 spine-tipped sepals. The flowers have 5 cream-coloured petals and 5 stamens with creamy anthers as can be seen in the photograph on the left. The leaves are succulent and rounded, tapering into a sharp spine. The stems are striped pale green or red and much branched. The fruit is enclosed within spiny bracts. This plant lives up to its name extremely well with plenty of prickles - take care if handling. It grows to about 50cm tall, is a species which can be found above the tide-line on undisturbed beaches, more on the east coast than the west with no records on the north-eastern part of our island. It flowers from July to September and is a native species which belongs to the Amaranth/ Amaranthaceae/ Pigweed family (formerly Goosefoot/ Chenopodiaceae family).

I first saw and photographed this species on the strand at the southernmost tip of Raven Point in County Wexford in 2018.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Saltwort, Prickly
Saltwort, Prickly

The Raven is a type of peninsula created by deposited sand and which was planted with pines and other evergreen trees as a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife, such as the red squirrel. It is an extremely interesting area to walk in and guaranteed never to disappoint!  More information about Raven Point can be found on the website of the National Park And Wildlife Service which is at www.npws.com