The present contribution reviews information on Crithmum maritimum L., a facultative halophyte belonging to the Apiaceae family and typical of coastal ecosystems. It grows wild on maritime rocks, piers, breakwaters and sandy beaches along the Mediterranean, Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Its propagation by germination, vegetative multiplication and the in vitroculture techniques is quite easy. Salinities exceeding 50 mM NaCl inhibit seed germination but seem without impact on seed viability. At the vegetative stage, growth was stimulated by low salinity but was markedly reduced at high levels of salt without any symptoms of toxicity. C. maritimum L. has been largely used for nutritional and medicinal purposes. The plant is also edible and it is consumed in the traditional diet of the first European farmers, as a potent source of minerals, vitamin C, essential oils and other biomolecules. The fruit of C. maritimum L. is rich in lipids (about 44% on dry weight basis) with oleic acid as major component (78.6% of the total fatty acids). All these features make this species one of the most promising halophytes in the context of biosaline agriculture.
Key words: Crithmum maritimum, salinity, nutritional and medicinal uses, biosaline agriculture.
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