Hard Clams | The Salt Marsh

The hard clam, or quahog, is common along our coast. The clams are sold commercially as littleneck, cherrystone, or chowder clams, depending on size, with littlenecks about an inch in diameter and chowder clams up to several inches (5 inches) across the shell. Their shells are very strong, grayish in color with thin concentric lines on the outside, and bright white with purple areas on the inside. The Native Americans cut out beads from these shells and used them as currency, called wampum. The scientific name Mercenaria refers to this use as money. The name quahog (pronounced co-hog) is also derived from the Iroquois word ìquayhon,î which is what they called the clam.