SEA MILKWORT

Glaux maritima

Myrsine Family [Myrsinaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8bicolour
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8pink
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ0 petalsZ5
('5')
stem
stem8round
 

30th May 2009, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Carpeting the ground of a tidal muddy estuary with a pink carpet. This is not a golf course (nearby is a Territorial Army shooting range and I might be inside their firing range!). Thrift is another plant which carpets similar shores with a pinkish hue.


14th June 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Barely reaching six inches in height, and often prostrate.


22nd June 2016, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD


14th June 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
When its plant density is high it grows upwards.


14th June 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Stems standing upright.


14th June 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
But otherwise lays prostrate and low on the muddy foreshore with other salt-tolerant species capable of surviving inundation by sea water at the highest tides. This is a single plant, with many stems.


14th June 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The flowers appear to have five petals, but they are sepals; the plant possessing no petals. Leaves in opposite pairs, in quadrature up the succulent stem.


22nd June 2016, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Fresh plants unspoilt by sea-water encroachment and salt encrustation. A plant may have almost white flowers, or pink to reddish flower.


22nd June 2016, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Most of these white plants have turned to fruit, which is at first green.


22nd June 2016, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Until he uprooted one your Author did not realise that the plant branches.


14th June 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Short elliptical or oval succulent-looking fleshy leaves in opposite pairs with a single flower tucked in just above it. Leaves in quadrature up the succulent-looking pale green stem. The lower part is turning to seed. Plant often covered in sand or other muddy particles as the sea laps against it.


14th June 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Five coloured sepals splay out in a wide-mouthed flower from which five pink stamens bearing creamy coloured pollen emerge. Sepals white at periphery, becoming deeper pink towards the middle, with red splashes.


31st May 2007, Walney Island, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The ovary in the centre grows bigger, at first a green sphere, becoming yellow and losing its central prominence.


14th June 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Lower flowers turning to seed.


22nd June 2016, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A fruit nestled in just above the leaf-junction with withered remains of petals. The pores in the leaves are a means by which the plant can excrete excess salt with water. the leaf surface is also finely reticulated, best seen on the nearside edge.


22nd June 2016, Marshside, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A fresh anther, centrestage. Petals mottled like the leaves.


14th June 2011, Southport, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Before the flowers appear leaves are to found on many muddy estuaries in the shape of a screw capable of accepting a flat-bladed screwdriver. This is Sea Milkwort.


Slight resemblance to : Sea Sandwort, another succulent-like plant that occurs on sand or shingle near the sea, but its flowers are greenish-white and its leaves yellowish-green rather than green.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

No relation to : Common Milkwort, Heath Milkwort, Chalk Milkwort or Dwarf Milkwort [which are the true Milkworts and have a similar name].

Sea Milkwort is the only plant in the Genus Glaux (at least of those present in the UK).

This plant occurs only by the sea in muddy flattish and bareish places, which may be inundated by shallow sea-water from time to time. It does not grow above the high water mark. It is quite often partially covered in sand particles and other small muddy debris.


  Glaux maritima  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Myrsinaceae  

Distribution
 family8Myrsine family8Myrsinaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Glaux
Glaux
(Sea-Milkwort)

SEA MILKWORT

Glaux maritima

Myrsine Family [Myrsinaceae]

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