Armeria pungens - Sea rose

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Caryophyllales - Family: Plumbaginaceae

Armeria pungens, Sea Rose

This pretty wildflower is a close relative of Thrift Armeria maritima which produces dense pink mats of flowers in early spring in Britain and Ireland. From a distance the flowers, on tall upright stems, could be mistaken for members of the Allium genus (onions, garlic and their relatives).

Identification

Armeria pungens grows to 70cm, and its inflorescences are hemispherical bunches of five-petalled flowers on long stalks.

Armeria pungens, Sea Rose, Algarve coast

The grass-like pointed leaves are hairless and typically 10cm long and 2.5mm wide, and they grow in dense tufts often out of bare sand, with the woody flower stalks emerging to tower above the leaf tufts and sway in the breeze - a challenge for photographers on all but the calmest of days.

Distribution

Sea Rose can be found along the coasts of Portugal and southern Spain as well as on some Mediterranean islands including Corsica and Sardinia.

Habitat

Armeria pungens grows in stable sand dunes, on coastal meadows and alongside footpaths on the clifftops.

Blooming Times

Sea Rose blooms from April until July.

A swathe of Armeria pungens, Sea Rose

Etymology

Armeria, the genus name, is the Latin word for a Pink (Dianthus) - confusing? Well, the specific epithet is a lot more obvious... pungens comes from a Latin root and simply means spiny (with a sharp point). The word puncture comes from the same origin.

As its common name suggests, Sea Rose is essentially a coastal species. This wildflower is also known as the Love Plant and, less romantically, as Spiny Thrift.

The Sea Rose specimens shown here were photographed in the Algarve region of southern Portugal during May.


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