Salsola soda, more commonly known in English as opposite-leaved saltwort, oppositeleaf Russian thistle, or barilla plant, is a small (up to 70 cm tall), annual, succulent shrub that is native to the Mediterranean Basin. It is a halophyte (a salt-tolerant plant) that typically grows in coastal regions and can be irrigated with salt water.
The plant has great historical importance as a source of soda ash, which was extracted from the ashes of Salsola soda and other saltwort plants. While the era of farming for soda ash is long past, S. soda is still cultivated as a vegetable that enjoys considerable popularity in Italy and with gourmets around the world.
S. soda is native in Eurasia and North Africa. Historically, it was well known in Italy, Sicily, and Spain. In modern Europe, it is also found on the Atlantic coasts of France and Portugal and on the Black Sea coast It has become naturalized along the Pacific coast of North America, and there is concern about its invasiveness in California's salt marshes. It is also reported to be naturalized in South America.
This annual, succulent plant has fleshy green leaves with either green or red stems. The tiny flowers develop from inflorescences that grow out of the base of the leaves near the stem.
Suitable for light (sandy) and medium (loamy) acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline and saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
For a continuous supply, this herb should be planted several times throughout the season of fresh, young foliage.
Information sources: wikipedia.org, pfaf.org.
Genus - Salsola
Species - Soda
Common name - Saltwort
Pre-Treatment - Not-required
Hardiness zones - 4 - 10
Height - 0,70 m
Plant type - Annual Herb
Exposure - Full Sun
Growth rate - Fast
Soil PH - Acid, neutral, alkaline
Soil type - Average garden
Water requirements - Average, high
Sow all year round inside or just after the last frost outside. It's very easy to grow, but needs a warm temeparture (+22-25C). Can be sown inside or outside then the weather is suitable for it.
Sow seed 5 mm deep in seed trays of compost.
Germination time - 7-14 days.
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