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Batis (plant)

Batis (turtleweed, saltwort, beachwort, or pickleweed) 3 Terminology

is a genus of two species of owering plants, the only
genus in the family Bataceae. They are halophytic (salt The genus Salsola is also sometimes known as saltwort,
tolerant) plants, native to the coastal salt marshes of warm but is unrelated.
temperate and tropical America (B. maritima) and tropical Australasia (B. argillicola).

4 Uses

B. maritima was used by Native Americans as a food, the

roots were chewed (like sugar cane) or boiled into a beverage, while the stems and leaves were eaten raw, cooked
or pickled. B. argillicola is also eaten as a green vegetable.

Morphology and taxonomy

An analysis of saltworts peppercorn-sized seeds has revealed they are extremely nutritious, having high quantities of proteins, oils, and starches . The seeds are edible, having a nutty taste, and they can be added to salads,
toasted, or even made into miniature popcorn.[3] The oil is
almost identical to saower oil, which is used for cooking
and in salad dressings, as well as for making margarine.
The seeds also contain benecial antioxidants, such as tocopherols, which are thought to ght cancer.

Both species are evergreen, low shrubs growing to 1070

cm tall, prostrate where colonizing new mud, but once
rooted, growing bushy. The leaves are small, swollen,
eshy, and narrowly club-shaped. They are bright green,
but can also take on a reddish color. The owers are small,
produced in nonshowy spikes, owering from midsummer to fall. The American species is dioecious, while the
Australasian species is monoecious.
Some botanists divide B. maritima into ve species, with
B. californica, B. fruticosa, B. spinosa and B. vermiculatus
split o, but this interpretation is not widely followed.

5 References
[1] Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009), An update of the
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classication for the orders and families of owering plants: APG III, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 105121,
doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x, retrieved 201012-10

Range and habitat

Batis has the ability to live in salty environments. When

other plants are exposed to salty soil or water, they lose
most of their stored water, but Batis has adapted to this
environment and does not have these problems. To help
it survive in this salty habitat, its eshy leaves are covered
with very ne hairs that reduce the amount of water the
plant loses to the air.


World Wildlife Fund. eds. Mark McGinley,

C.Michael Hogan & C. Cleveland. 2010. Petenes
mangroves. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington

[3] Article on the studies done on Saltwort by Massimo Marcone. It was originally published at

An example habitat of occurrence of Batis maritima is in

the Petenes mangroves ecoregion of the Yucatn.[2]

Batis maritima USDA plant prole

Not many animals can eat it because it is too salty, but

white-tailed deer eat B. maritima as part of their diets.
Eastern pygmy-blue butteries collect the nectar from its
owers. B. maritima is becoming rare in some areas, and
some scientists think it should be added to the United
States endangered species list, though it has also become
an invasive species in Hawaii after accidental introduction there.

Batis argillicola in Flora of Western Australia

Batis argillicola in Online Field guide to Common
Saltmarsh Plants of Queensland
Listing of Halophytes & Salt-Tolerant Plants


Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



Batis (plant) Source: Contributors: Jimfbleak, RickK, Joy, Eugene van der
Pijll, WormRunner, Taliswolf, MPF, Muke, PDH, DanielCD, Hesperian, Melaen, Velella, Pekinensis, FlaBot, Eubot, Roarjo, Gdrbot,
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Luckas-bot, Ptbotgourou, Ulric1313, GB fan, Mark Schierbecker, Simuliid, AstaBOTh15, Mick Barber, EmausBot, Mariagomez39, Plantdrew, NotWith, BattyBot, Dexbot, Sminthopsis84, Makecat-bot, AfadsBad, Dipentodon and Anonymous: 10




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