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1. See glasswort.
2. An edible coastal plant (Crithmum maritimum) in the parsley family, native to Eurasia, having fleshy compound leaves and small white flowers grouped in compound umbels, and sometimes pickled.

[Alteration of Early Modern English sampiere, the plant C. maritimum, from French (herbe de) Saint Pierre, (herb of) Saint Peter, after Saint Pierre, Saint Peter, a patron saint of fisherman (the plant being so called because it grows on rocks near the sea, the name perhaps also being influenced by French pierre, rock).]


(ˈsæmˌfaɪə) or


1. (Plants) Also called: rock samphire an umbelliferous plant, Crithmum maritimum, of Eurasian coasts, having fleshy divided leaves and clusters of small greenish-white flowers
2. (Plants) golden samphire a Eurasian coastal plant, Inula crithmoides, with fleshy leaves and yellow flower heads: family Asteraceae (composites)
3. (Plants) another name for glasswort1
4. (Plants) any of several other plants of coastal areas
[C16 sampiere, from French herbe de Saint Pierre Saint Peter's herb; perhaps influenced by camphire camphor]


(ˈsæm faɪər)

1. a European succulent plant, Crithmum maritimum, of the parsley family, having small, whitish flowers and growing in clefts of rock near the sea.
[1535–45; earlier sampiere < Middle French (herbe de) Saint Pierre (herb of) Saint Peter]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.samphire - fleshy maritime plant having fleshy stems with rudimentary scalelike leaves and small spikes of minute flowerssamphire - fleshy maritime plant having fleshy stems with rudimentary scalelike leaves and small spikes of minute flowers; formerly used in making glass
herb, herbaceous plant - a plant lacking a permanent woody stem; many are flowering garden plants or potherbs; some having medicinal properties; some are pests
References in classic literature ?
The sailors at the fore and mizzen had come down; the line tubs were fixed in their places; the cranes were thrust out; the mainyard was backed, and the three boats swung over the sea like three samphire baskets over high cliffs.
In the midst of receipts for "Rabbits, and Chickens mumbled, Pickled Samphire, Skirret Pye, Baked Tansy," and other forgotten delicacies, there were directions for the preparation of several lotions for the preservation of beauty.
A little billow, spreading wide, gave a slight roll to the boat, and some samphire reeds flapped before it.