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Sea aster, vegetable from salty soils

  1. In the Netherlands, the sea aster grows mainly in the Delta area of ​​South Holland and Zeeland and on salt marshes in the Wadden area such as in the Dollard. The plant can also be found in coastal areas throughout the Eurasian continent and inland on some saline soils. They grow in a coastal area on the high tide line. Sea aster grows to a height of 15 to 150 centimeters and has purple petals with a yellow heart. The plant flowers from July to September / October. It is striking that the fruit of sea aster, a type of nut, can float for two weeks if it falls into the water. This makes it likely that it washes ashore somewhere.


  1. Poor or smart Animals and humans eat sea aster Naming sea aster Medicinal properties Danish research Growing sea aster yourself Sea aster and global warming Do not eat from the Zeeland delta

Poor or smart

  1. The leaves of sea aster or zalte are mainly collected in Zeeland. Wikipedia says it was collected by "poor people." That is a qualification, an opinion of the author. You could just as well say that the plant is collected by smart people. The past tense is also used; as if there are no longer any poor people who unfortunately have to resort to the use of sea aster out of sheer necessity. It is very smart to eat the biodynamic vegetable and mineral rich sea aster

Animals and humans eat sea aster

  1. Sea aster is not only eaten by humans. Finches, geese and sheep also love this plant. In the past, people turned from animals which plants they could eat. When they saw an animal eat a plant, they started to eat it too and they did not get sick, then they had discovered a new edible plant. Sea aster is eaten by about twenty insects such as flies, moths and beetles.

Naming sea aster

  1. The Latin name for sea aster is Aster tripolium. A Latin synonym is Tripolium vulgare. In Dutch, this plant is called Zulte, Zeesterrekruid, Saltwater Aster, Saltwater Starflower and Saltwater Starwort and Seaeaster. In German it is called Salz-Aster and in English the plant is called sea-aster. Zulte is derived from salt. After all, aster is a salty sea vegetable. The name aster means 'star' in Latin. The plant received this name from the star shape of the flower. Tripolium comes from tri which means 'three' and 'polion' which stands for exchange. The flower would change color three times. It starts out blue, then turns whitish-lilac and ends as violet. Incidentally, the heart also changes color. It starts yellow and ends orange-red. The color change often has to do with whether a flower is pollinated or not.

Medicinal properties

  1. The medicinal properties of sea aster have not been thoroughly investigated. All the forms of healing described in this paragraph originated from traditional lore.

Danish survey

  1. An exploratory study from Denmark done in 2013 showed that sea aster could be an antihypertensive sea vegetable; all initial data points to this. The researchers also found caffeoyl esters, flavonoids glycosides, sinapate esters and sinapinic acid in sea aster. Sea aster, together with the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, may have important anti-free radical activity.

Self-cultivation of sea aster

  1. Sea aster is an ideal plant for a garden in a coastal area, but it can also grow inland on salty soil. Like most sea vegetables, sea aster does not like shade; it prefers to grow in full sun. It also likes moist soil. If you want to grow the plant yourself, you can enrich the soil with a mixture of water and Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt. The plant is mixed with salt water and you also feed the soil well with it. In coastal areas it was always customary among farmers to irrigate the soil with sea water a few times a year in order to increase the mineral content. If you have sown seeds, it is best to do so in moist soil under glass at the beginning of the spring. Keep the seeds around 20 degrees and the first plants will emerge after two weeks. At the beginning of summer, the seedlings are big enough to plant them. It is a perennial plant but often they do not get very old.

Sea aster and global warming

  1. There is a general trend among scientists to study the cultivation of sea vegetables. This has to do with the belief in global warming and a possible associated sea level rise. Regardless of whether this is really going to happen, it is true that any scientific research will receive a subsidy much faster if it is linked to the 'global warming'. The research on sea vegetables does not lead to direct cultivation of sea vegetables, but it is hoped that if agricultural land appears to be saline due to flooding, the soil can be filled with sea vegetables so that the population White sea aster / Source: Aroche, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0 )

Do not eat from the Zeeland delta

  1. The Western Scheldt is that part of the delta with an open connection to the port of Antwerp. Here are all kinds of factories on the water. The water is polluted with heavy metals. As a result, it is no longer advisable to pick sea vegetables in Zeeland. Those who want to eat sea aster can still pick them in the Wadden area or grow them themselves.

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