HABITAT: Pickleweed grows in the low to middle tide zone in the marsh, which means that it gets covered up by water some of the time depending on the tide.
FOOD AND HABITAT PROVIDED: Pickleweed is the primary habitat for the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse, a tiny mouse that uses pickleweed for both food and shelter. Because of its salty flavor, pickleweed is also an edible and tasty wetland treat. It was used by the Ohlones to spice and flavor their foods, and is still sold today in some farmer’s markets.
FUN FACT: When the roots of the pickleweed plant take up salt water, the plant’s cells move the salt to the tips of the leaves. As the amount of salt gets higher and higher, the leaves turn red. When the leaves cannot hold any more salt, they begin to die, and eventually fall off.