A perennial with pink spherical flowers, eagerly visited by insects from many groups, from butterflies, hymenopterans, and flies to beetles. The sea thrift is an ideal candidate for turfing stony and dry places. Wild, non-cultivar seeds.
€4,50 – €19,50
Polish name: sea thrift, common thrift
Latin name: Armeria maritima
Family: leadwort family Plumbaginaceae
Status in Poland: native
The sea thrift is extremely variable cushion or turf perennial with characteristic pink flowers. It develops two types of shoots: underground slightly ascending rhizomes (forming rosettes of leaves), and above-ground scapes (forming leafless inflorescences). The scape can measure from 2 to 60 cm in height.
The leaves are almost always evergreen, hairy at the margins with 1-3 veins, linear as in grasses and pinks, otherwise slightly acute or completely obtuse at the apex.
The flowers are clustered in a head-type inflorescence with a diameter of 1.3-3.0 cm, covered with: a combined, membranous sub-inflorescence spathe 0.5-32 mm long, and very differently developed sub-inflorescence scales. An individual flower of the sea thrift consists of a calyx and a corolla. The calyx is transformed into a toothed tube with a very different degree of hairiness (from completely bare to strongly ciliated), 5-7.5 mm long. The corolla is characterized by usually matte and pale pink petals.
The fruit of the sea thrift will be a gray capsule hidden in the lasting remains of the calyx. Its length varies depending on the subspecies and ecotype. The seeds can also differ greatly in texture and color, they can be dull, light brown and densely furrowed (subsp. maritima) either shiny, blackish or dark brown, and smooth (subsp. elongata).
The sea thrift prefers very light locations with heavily drained, dry, and light soil. It can grow in moving and loose ground, between stones on a rockery, or between bricks in a flower stone wall. Salt flats ecotypes are more and more often used in specialized mixtures of urban salt meadows for sidewalks and roadsides. Most of the sea thrift ecotypes require acidic or neutral substrates, whereas they weaken in alkaline, gypsum or calcareous ones.
Picking or cutting off overblown inflorescences prolongs flowering. Every few years, it is worth rejuvenating the entire clump of thrift by dividing and replanting it.
The sea thrift is an example of a quickly evolving, genetically highly variable species, therefore excellent for breeding new varieties. The species has number of smaller taxa, differing rather in their geographical distribution and habitat preferences, than in the morphology of the above- and underground parts. Despite using modern genetic techniques for research, it is still difficult to conclude whether some separate sea thrift populations have already evolved into separate species. This applies, for example, to populations from the Andes, the Alps, the Balkans, Siberia and Labrador, the Canary Islands, and finally the southern shores of Lake Athabaska.
Sea thrift is one of the most important model species in research on the resistance of plants to the presence of heavy metals and salts in the substrate, just like the buckler-mustard from the cabbage family.
There are no precise data on pollen and nectar yield, but it is considered as an attractive species for insect pollinators, therefore it is sown in some bee pastures and butterfly gardens.
The flowers are willingly visited by insects from many groups, from butterflies, hymenopterans, and flies to beetles.
It is valued for its long flowering (from May to October).