Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum)

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Nina
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Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum)

Post by Nina » 24 Sep 2017, 09:48

We've been asked if Rock Samphire can be fed to tortoises, and here is our response:

Although Rock Samphire is perfectly edible for humans, I think I wouldn't feed it to tortoises for two reasons:

1. Salinity. Although this plant doesn't require salt to grow, if it is growing near the sea then it absorbs the salt in the sea spray into its leaves and has a fairly high salt content, which would not be good for your tortoise. Here's an article on the salinity content of Crithmum maritimum http://tinyurl.com/y7g6cu62 , just in case you are interested. However, if you are growing this plant in your garden, and you are not near the sea then that wouldn't be a problem.

2. Rock Samphire contains phenylpropanoid Apiol, which has traditionally been used to aid in abortion in humans, and in high doses can be toxic (although I think your tortoise would have to eat a lot of Rock Samphire to experience the negative effects).

Also, of course, as with any succulent, large quantities will cause diarrhoea, so if feeding at all it should be in moderation or sparingly. Taking everything into account I don't think I would feed it, but if your tortoise happens to nibble growing nearby it wouldn't do it any harm. If you are feeding it, then do be aware that Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum) is often confused with Marsh Samphire, aka Glasswort (Salicornia europaea), and Golden Samphire (Inula crithmoides) which are different plants, from a completely different plant families.

Nina

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