Samphire is a name given to a number of very different, edible plants, that happen to grow in coastal areas.
All the plants bearing the name are annuals that begin growing in late autumn and vegetate throughout the winter until the first warm weather arrives. Then the first stems and internodes form and by mid-spring the plant measures 6 to 8 cm.
Samphires of all kinds have long been eaten in England. The leaves were gathered early in the year and pickled or eaten in salads with oil and vinegar. It is even mentioned by Shakespeare in King Lear:
This refers to the dangers involved in collecting Rock samphire on sea cliffs.
Food and Drink: Bite of the Samphire ; Mark Hix on a Seaside Vegetable That Has a Unique Taste and Texture. Photographs by Jason Lowe
Jun 29, 2002; THIS TIME last year I was lying in the salt marshes near Maldon in Essex. It was 3am and I'd gone along with some wildfowling...