Plumbaginaceae (Leadwort Family)

Many of the plants from the Plumbaginaceae Family live in Coastal Habitats, including Salt Marshes. Their flowers have a 5-lobed calyx (whose tube is often ribbed) and a 5-lobed corolla, although the corolla lobes may be separate almost to their base. The 5 stamens are in line with these lobes. The pistil has 5 styles, and develops in to a dry fruit containing a single seed.

The flowers of some members of Plumbaginaceae have a paper-like texture to the calyx and/or corolla; the popular cultivated flower Statice belongs to this family.

On Montara Mountain, Plumbaginaceae is represented by the Sea Thrift (or Sea Pink), Armeria maritima.



Armeria maritima:
Sea Thrift (Sea Pink)

Plumbaginaceae (Leadwort Family)

Flowers: Pink, tiny, 5 petaled; in dense, one inch, ball like clusters on top of brown, 1 ft stems.

Blooms: April - June.

Leaves: Grass like, at base of stem.

Fruit/Seeds: ??

Location: Bluff Trails, common - Gray Whale cove trail, lower San Pedro Road.

Status: Native - Common.

Armeria maritima
600x450 JPEG - 24K

Note the distinctive 5 petal open flowers, different from wild onion-like plants.

Further description & Comment: Tight ball of flowers distinguishes it from other onion-like flower clusters (usually in the Lily family), which are usually a spread of stems from a central point. See Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum) for an example.

Pinks are most often found on the bluffs or dunes near the beaches, but on Montara Mountain they can be found as high as 700 ft up the western slope.


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