Biodiversity & Conservation

Thrift - Armeria maritima

Armeria maritima

Image Keith Hiscock - Thrift growing on saltmarsh. Image width ca 80cm in foreground.
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Distribution map

Armeria maritima recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

Why do the maps differ?

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Armeria maritima is not listed under any importance categories.

Taxonomy icon Taxonomy Taxon English term
Phylum Angiospermophyta Seagrass, tassel weeds, reeds, sea pink & grasses
Class Magnoliopsida
Authority Willd.
Recent synonyms Statice maritima
Map icon Recorded Distribution in Britain and Ireland Armeria maritima occurs all around the British Isles and Ireland. The subspecies Armeria maritima ssp. elongata is found in Lincolnshire but is very rare.
Habitat information icon Habitat information Armeria maritima is found on coasts, cliffs and salt marshes as well as inland on mountain ledges in Britain and Ireland.
Text page icon Description A perennial flower with a corolla consisting of five petals that are joined at the base with five stamens and five separate styles. The leaves form rosettes at the base of the stalk and the fruit capsule contains only a single seed. The leaves of Armeria maritima are narrow and numerous, and usually have hairs along their margins. The leaves surround a stalk that rises, unbranched terminating in a dense inflorescence of usually pink flowers. Often seen, and easy to identify in the absence of flowers. The rootstock is woody and easily seen under the leaves.
Identifying features
  • Armeria maritima usually has pink flowers although they are infrequently white.
  • The flower consists of five petals, about 8mm wide with stamens opposite the petals and five styles that are hairy towards their base.
  • The hairy calyx (the whorl of 'sepals' which occur outside the petals), has five ribs and teeth up to 1mm deep.
  • A brown, tubular sheath falls 2-3cm below the flower head.
  • The flower stalk is unbranched and between 5-30cm high, emerging from a rosette of 2-10cm long leaves.
  • The leaves have a single vein, may have hair along the margins and originate from a cushion-forming, woody rootstock.
Additional information icon Additional information Armeria maritima includes two sub species, Armeria maritima ssp. elongata and Armeria maritima ssp. maritima. These subspecies are synonymous with Statice elongata or Armeria elongata, and Armeria pubescens or Armeria maritima ssp. planifolia respectively. The subspecies can be differentiated by the form of the stems, pubescent (with hairs) or glabrous (hairless) respectively.

This review can be cited as follows:

Joelene Hughes 2002. Armeria maritima. Thrift. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 30/11/2015]. Available from: <>