Armeria maritima

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Armeria maritima
Photo Credit Lisa Hintz
Armeria maritima
Photo Credit Lisa Hintz

Common Name: Thrift, Sea-thrift,Thrift seapink Abbreviation Code: ARMA


  • Kingdom Plantae – Plants
  • Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
  • Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
  • Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
  • Class Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
  • Order: Caryophyllales
  • Family: Plumbaginaceae
  • Genus: Armeria
  • Species: A. maritima


General: Scapose, perennial herbs, the 1-several scapes glabrous, 1-5 dm. tall. Leaves: Leaves all basal, in dense tufts, narrowly linear, tough and persistent, 5-10 cm. long and 1-3 mm. broad, glabrous to puberulent. Flowers: Flowers in dense, head-like clusters subtended by purplish involucral bracts, 1.5-3 cm. broad, terminal on the scapes; flowers in clusters of 3 on short pedicels, subtended by 2 transparent bracts; calyx 5-lobed, funnel-shaped, dry and chaffy, 10-nerved, 5-6 mm. long; corolla 5-lobed nearly to the base, pinkish or purplish; stamens 5, opposite the corolla lobes; styles 5, distinct. Fruit: Fruit achene-like.

This plant forms dense tussocks of grayish-green, linear leaves and pubescent flower stems. Up to 12 in. tall, the flower stems terminate in a small, round head of pink to lavender flowers. A low plant with a basal cluster of many narrow leaves and, atop a slender, leafless stalk, a globe of pale lilac flowers, beneath which are several broad, purplish, papery bracts. Tussocks of dried leaves are persistent. It resembles a small onion, but the two families are only related in that they are flowering plants.

Bloom Period

March - July


Alaska to California, also Newfoundland and Europe.


Ecological Setting-Gravelly tundra, along beaches and coastal bluffs, occasionally inland. Soil Texture-Medium to coarse, moist to dry, well drained soils Soil Reaction / Salinity-4.7-7.5 pH – low salinity tolerance Moisture Regime Medium moisture use – low drought tolerance Shade Tolerance No tolerance Successional Status-Early


Wildlife-Attracts bees, low palatability for browsing and grazing animals like deer. The flowers attract painted lady butterflies. The mat-like vegetation provides shelter for many invertebrates such as the slug-eating ground beetle. Landscaping-Commercially available First Nations-n/a Other-High C:N ratio


Fruit and Seed Collection-Collect A. maritima v. californica when seeds are tan and the papery husk has no green coloration. Flick off the seed with the husk attached. Seed Storage-Due to lack of information on temperature and humidity requirements on A. maritima v. californica as well as information on yearly loss of viability, the A. maritima v. californica is kept at a standard storage of 40f and 40% humidity. Fruit/Seed Dormancy and Treatment-Seeds do not need pre-treatment


Seed sample from: 2011

Average Measurement: 4.9 x 1.2 x 1.2

Measurement Range: L: 4.3 – 5.5, W: 1 – 1.5, D: 1.1 – 1.4


Shape: Seeds narrow at hilum, widening at opposite apex to form a tube shaped opening with five ribs flaring out from the end of the seed. Inside tube structure is five lobed star shaped structure.

Color: Ribs brown, connected with a white transparent membrane. Star shaped structure is tan.

Surface: Seed is longitudinally ribbed, and has a slight sheen.

Latitudinal Cross Section: elliptical ARMA lat.png

Longitudinal Cross Section: obovate ARMA long.png

Basic Explanations and Assumptions:

The dimensions for the seeds are length x width x depth. The location of the hilum is used as the base of the seed, and the length is measured from hilum to the opposite apex. Where a style is present, the length is measured from the hilum to the bottom of the style. Width is measured at a right angle to the length at the widest part. Depth is measured at a right angle to the intersection of height and width lines.

Measurements included are the mean average for each measurement of ten separate seeds.

All measurements in millimeters unless otherwise noted.

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