Spergularia media - Greater Sea-spurrey

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

Spergularia media, Greater Sea Spurrey, North Wales

Where Greater Sea-spurrey (sometimes referred to a Media Sand-spurrey) occurs, it usually grows in profusion.

Spergularia media, Greater Sea Spurrey


Greater Sea-spurrey is an annual/perennial plant with fleshy strap-like leaves. The white or more often pinkish flowers, each with up to ten stamens, are 8 to 12mm across and have five petals that are backed by slightly shorter sepals. Plants up to 40cm tall can be found in some sheltered locations, but more often Greater Sea-spurrey is a low-growing sprawling plant that covers rocks, cliff-top footpath margins and the fringes of saltmarshes. Within the three-sectioned seed capsules of Greater Sea-spurrey, each seed is encircled by a tiny wing.

Spergularia media flower, side view


The various Sea-spurreys prefer dry sandy soils and plenty of sunshine. With the exception of Sand Spurrey Spergularia rubra and Corn Spurrey Spergularia arvensis the three other spurreys which occur in the UK and Ireland - Greater Sea-spurrey Spergularia media, Lesser Sea Spurrey Spergularia marina and Rock Sea-spurrey Spergularia rupicola - are all found on the coasts. (Sand Spurrey is common throughout the south and west of the UK and Ireland, and Corn Spurrey is widespread and common throughout the whole of the UK and Ireland.)

Spergularia media, Greater Sea Spurrey, Pembrokeshire

Above: Greater Sea-spurrey on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales UK.


If you walk anywhere along the coastal paths of Britain or Ireland you will be able to see plenty of these pretty summer flowers. They also grow inland in a few salt-spread roadside locations and can be sen, although very rarely, on some dry-stone walls in some parts of Britain. This wildflower is also widespread and abundant across most of the European sea coast and many sea-bordered regions of Asia, but it has also been introduced to many other temperate parts of the world.

Greater Sea-spuurey in Portugal

Above: Greater Sea-spurrey in the Algarve, Portugal.

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