Thrift, Sea Thrift and Sea Pink – Armeria Maritima

August 6, 2015

Armeria maritima is a species of flowering plant. It is known by several names such as thrift, sea thrift and sea pink. Thrift or sea pink is a compact, low-growing perennial plant which forms a dense, mounded tuft of stiff, linear, grass-like, dark green leaves (to 4″ tall). Tufts will spread slowly to 8-12″ wide. Tiny, pink to white flowers bloom in mid spring in globular clusters (3/4-1″ wide) atop slender, naked stalks rising well above the foliage to 6-10″ tall. Sporadic additional flowering may occur throughout the summer. Flower clusters are subtended by purplish, papery bracts. The plant can be found in the wild in coastal areas across the Northern Hemisphere, especially in Europe, but also occurs in parts of South America. It is also a common sight in the British marshes. In the wild, thrift or sea pink commonly grows in saline environments along coastal areas where few other plants can grow well, hence the common name.

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It is best grown in infertile, dry, well-drained soils and in full sun. The foliage mounds tend to rot in the center if it is grown in moist fertile soils. Keep in mind that a good drainage system is essentials. To encourage additional bloom, remove dead flower heads from the plant. Sea Thrift is great for edging, border fronts, rock gardens and wall pocket, it could also be massed as a ground cover for smaller areas. Sea Thrift has rarely been used for medicinal purpose especially for external use antibiotic poultice because it can cause dermatitis or local irritation but the dried flowering plant is antibiotic and has been used as treatment for obesity.

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