This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
This plant is dingy-red to crimson in colour. It is a prostrate plant, triangular in outline, fan-shaped, the branches ascending at the tip. The stems are loose, prostrate, then ascending, appressed to the mud (hence appressa). The main stem is 15 cm. or more long. The vegetative segments are 7-9 mm. long. The terminal flowering-spikes are short (10-22 mm.), tapering, and acute. The central flower is larger than the lateral ones, and reaches nearly to the top of the segment. The plant is a herbaceous annual. The height of the plant is 6-12 in.
This plant is green or red in colour. The habit is erect, rigid, more or less racemose. The stem is 12 cm. long. The branches are ascending, somewhat unequal, parallel. The non-flowering segments are short (5-8 mm.), the spikes are larger and longer than in 5. pusilla (and the whole plant less fleshy), short, 6-12 mm., with 2-4 segments. There are 2 lateral floyvers, usually smaller by half than the central flower, which extends half-way up the segment. The spikes contain cellules, which are spiral, spicular. The plant is a herbaceous annual.
The habitat of this plant is the drier parts of salt marshes, where the plant grows among: turf formed by Glyceria maritima. Anatomically the plant is allied to the last, but in its loosely-attached segments and single-flowered, cyme-like inflorescences it is distinct from all other members of the sub-section Erectae. It is recognized by the easily-disarticulating (hence disarticulata) segments and single flowers. The plant is yellowish-green, the tips of the branches reddish. The habit is erect, rigid, much-branched, the stem 15-16 cm. high. The segments are short, easily disarticulating at maturity (2-5 mm. long). The terminal spikes are short (2-6 mm. long), with 3-6 segments, the lateral spikes very short (1-3 mm.). The spikes contain cellules, which are spiral or spicular. The plant is a herbaceous annual.
Salicornia smithiana, Moss. ( - S. procumbens, Auct. p.p.). - This plant is green in colour to red at maturity. The habit is prostrate, then slightly ascending, procumbent (hence procumbens). The stem is short, 15 cm., with few ascending branches. The non-flowering segments are short, 10 mm. The lower branches are longer than the upper, and are arranged crosswise. There are 2 lateral flowers, smaller by half than the central flower, extending half-way up the segment. There are no spiral or spicular cellules. The plant is a herbaceous annual.
The habitat of this plant is shingle near high-water mark. The plant is green or yellowish-green. The habit is prostrate. The stem is limp, or more or less so, often much-branched, 5-8 cm. high. The segments are short or long. The spikes are very long (hence dolichostachya), 8-10 cm. long, with sometimes curved, short branches, especially at the base, with 15-30 segments. The lateral flowers are separated by the central one, and the species bridges over the perennial forms with the central flower separating the lateral ones, and the annual where they are not, but the central flower rests on the lateral ones. The species is recognized by the prostrate habit, much and irregularly branched. The plant flowers in mid-August, being the first to flower and fruit in the middle of September. The spikes also are very long, curved, branched. The plant is a herbaceous annual.
Salicornia perennis, Mill., var. lignosa, Moss. - This plant is stiffer, not, or little, rooting, the stem thicker, shorter, more woody below (hence lignosa). The plant is a prostrate dwarf shrub, with a single stem, unilateral. The branches are prostrate, and have no adventitious roots. The 3 flowers in the cyme are subequal, the central reaching two-thirds the way up the segment. The seeds have shorter hairs than in S. perennis. The plant is a herbaceous perennial.
Salicornia perennis, Mill. = S. radicans, Sm. = S. fruticosa, Auct. - The habitat of this plant is salt marshes and muddy seashores. The plant is often social, growing in matted clumps, and (when isolated) it is a metre across. It is a tufted, dwarf shrub, spreading by freely-rooting branches. The root-stock is woody, creeping, perennial, with herbaceous, round, barren, and flowering segments. The colour is browner than in 5. herbacea.
The joints are deeply notched, hardly thickened. The spikes are blunt, thick, oblong, nearly stalk-less. The central flower of the cyme is slightly larger than the lateral, which reach half-way up the segment. The seeds are nearly globular, with curved hairs, longer than in the foregoing species. The plant is 6-18 in. in height, flowering from August to October. It is a herbaceous perennial.