Description from Flora of China
Salicornia herbacea (Linnaeus) Linnaeus; S. europaea var. herbacea Linnaeus.
Herbs annual, 10-35 cm tall. Stems erect, much branched; branches green, fleshy. Leaves undeveloped, scale-like, to 1.5 mm, base united into a sheath, margin membranous, apex acute. Inflorescence shortly pedunculate, spicate, 1-5 cm. Flowers axillary, 3 per bract, middle flower larger, located slightly above lateral flowers. Perianth fleshy, obconic. Stamens exserted; anthers oblong. Ovary ovoid; stigmas papillate. Pericarp membranous. Seed cylindric-ovoid, ca. 1.5 mm in diam.; testa subleathery, hooked hispid. Fl. and fr. Jan-Aug.
This species is treated here in a broad sense. The Salicornia europaea aggregate is represented in Eurasia and North America by several diploid and tetraploid races. Most probably Chinese plants belong mostly (or exclusively) to the Eurasian continental race known as S. prostrata Pallas (Ill. Pl. 8. 1803). The taxonomy of this group in China is in need of revision.
Alkaline and saline soils, salt-lake shores, beaches. Gansu, Hebei, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Xinjiang [India, Japan, Korea, Russia; SW Asia, Europe, North America].