Easily mis-identified as other Sea-Lavenders such as :
- Common Sea-Lavender (Limonium vulgare) but that has much larger leaves.
- Lax-Flowered Sea-Lavender (Limonium humile) but that has fewer more flowers widely separated.
Matted Sea-lavender (Limonium bellidifolium)
Broad-leaved Sea-lavender (Limonium auriculae-ursifolium)
Alderney Sea-lavender (Limonium normannicum)
Rottingdean Sea-lavender (Limonium hyblaeum)
Florists's Sea-lavender (Limonium platyphyllum)
Many similarities to other Rock Sea-lavenders :
Most Rock Sea-lavenders cannot even be differentiated by the number of chromosome pairs, since most, but not all, are 2n=35.
- Rock Sea-lavender (Limonium binervosum), split into 6 sub-species:
- (ssp. binervosu) 2n=35
- (ssp. cantianum) 2n=35
- (ssp. anglicum) 2n=35
- (ssp. saxonicum) 2n=35
- (ssp. mutatum)
- (ssp. sarniense) 2n=35
- Western Sea-lavender (Limonium britannicum), split into 4 sub-species:
- (ssp. britannicum) 2n=36
- (ssp. coombense) 2n=35
- (ssp. transcanalis) 2n=35
- (ssp. celticum) 2n=35, 36
- Tall Sea-lavender (Limonium procerum), split into 3 sub-species:
- (ssp. procerum) 2n=35, 36
- (ssp. devoniense) 2n=35
- (ssp. cambrense) 2n=35
- Irish Sea-lavender (Limonium recurvum), split into 4 sub-species:
- (ssp. recurvum) 2n=27
- (ssp. portlandicum) 2n=27
- (ssp. pseudotranswellianum) 2n=27
- (ssp. humile) 2n=27
- Purbeck Sea-lavender (Limonium dodartiforme) 2n=35
- Logan's Sea-lavender (Limonium loganicum) 2n=36
- St David's Sea-lavender (Limonium paradoxum) 2n=33, 36
- Small Sea-lavender (Limonium parvum) 2n=35
- Giltar Sea-lavender (Limonium transwallianum) 2n=35
No relation to:
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) nor to
Garden Lavender (Lavandula × intermedia), non-native shrubs belonging to the
Dead-nettle Family (Lamiaceae). It is a strongly aromatic shrub used as a fragrance in toiletries, perfumes, soaps, confectionery and even perhaps some beers (Roosters perhaps, which does smell of lavender).
Not to be semantically confused with : Rock Samphire (Crithmum maritimum) another plant which grows near the sea but which has greenish-yellow flowers and belongs to the Carrot Family (Apiaceae). Rock Sea-Spurrey (Spergularia rupicola) is another flower with similar name that grows near the sea but that belongs to yet another Family, the Carnation & Campion (Caryophyllaceae)
Rock Sea-lavenders have only recently in 1986 been split up into 9 species and 17 sub-species. Before they were split up, they were classed under 'Rock Sea-lavender', which appeared to be highly variable. However, now that they have been split up, identification is, if anything, even more difficult, since not only must one specimen be examined, but a whole raft of differing specimens before a general trend can be discerned. Thus, this new classification seems not to have eliminated or diminished the variability in any way, the variance still remains! Thus true identification is extremely difficult, and probably the best way of deciding which are the contenders is to look at the distribution maps, since in many instances each Species sub-species is highly confined to just one particular area(s) only. With that method in mind, the only Rock Sea-lavender that appears in any map which includes Hilbre island is that of Western Sea-lavender, so ipso-facto, the above photographs must be this one? However, a hectad covers a large area (10km x 10km square) but luckily Rock Sea-lavender Limonium britannica ssp. celticum (which Clive Stace names 'Western Sea-lavender' in his latest book on the flora of the British Isles), happens to be quoted in the Hilbre Island Flora as being on Hilbre Island along with only 7 other flora. However, when your Author was on Hilbre, he spotted many more than just 8 differing wild plants not including grasses ~
This sub-species of Western Sea-lavender is extremely rare (as are many of the other Rock Sea-lavenders listed above), occurring in only 5 other places in the World. It is listed in the Red Data Book (RDB) as 'near-threatened'. It also appears in the newer 'Threatened Plants Database' (TPTB) as collated by the BSBI. It occurs in the UK only in North Wales, Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria, with official re-sighting since 2010 in only one location: Hilbre where there is one colony of ~100 plants and another 220 metres away with ~1000. It is extremely vulnerable to trampling. Not recorded in Cornwall since this present Century began, it previously occurred in as many as 7 hectads on the north Cornish coast.
A single plant can produce up to 500 seeds which are borne on the wind. They obviously have a low germination rate in anything but particular places.
In the above photos, not every aspect of ssp. celticum is satisfied. In particular ssp. celticum is supposed to have usually lax flowers, but hardly any are lax in these photos. And in other respects, which require measurements of dimensions of flowers, spacings, bracts, etc, the Author took no measurements whatsoever. However, ssp. britannicum has not been reported in this area, whereas ssp. celticum has! Of one thing you can be certain, it is a Rock Sea-lavender.