LESSER SEA-SPURREY

Spergularia marina

Carnation & Campion Family [Caryophyllaceae]  

month8apr month8april month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8lilac
inner
inner8white
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
stem
stem8round

5th Aug 2009, muddy shoreline, St Annes on Sea, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A very short plant, less than 3 inches tall. The leaves are long and narrow linear, like pine needles. The flowering buds are on short stems at right-angles to the main stem, looking as though they are broken.


5th Aug 2009, muddy shoreline, St Annes on Sea, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The right angled joints or nodes are swollen, and sheathed a little like the 'knuckles' are in knotweeds.


5th Aug 2009, muddy shoreline, St Annes on Sea, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Close-up of the sheathed nodes of the flowering stems. The flower buds have 5 black dots at the nook of the slits in the sepals.


5th Aug 2009, muddy shoreline, St Annes on Sea, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The five petals are tinged lilac at the extremities, fading to white at the centre. The ten or so prominent anthers are tipped with yellow pollen.


5th Aug 2009, muddy shoreline, St Annes on Sea, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The green sepals are longer than the petals in Lesser Sea Spurrey [not so in Greater Sea-Spurrey]. As in many flowers, the petals must rotate wrt to the sepals during opening, in this case by 360/10 degrees, or 36°


5th Aug 2009, muddy shoreline, St Annes on Sea, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Underside of flower showing the five black dots at the nook of the cuts in the sepals. There is a thin rice-paperish membrane left on the upper surface of the sepals when the petals separate from the sepals, seen most clearly in this underside view.


5th Aug 2009, muddy shoreline, St Annes on Sea, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
In the very centre atop the pale green central body (the fruiting body, are the three short yellow-tipped styles of Sea-Spurreys (the Corn Spurreys have five).


5th Aug 2009, muddy shoreline, St Annes on Sea, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
the flower buds have black dots at the nick of the slits in the sepals.


5th Aug 2009, muddy shoreline, St Annes on Sea, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The thin papery sheaths shrouding each node.


10th Oct 2015, Marshside, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Gone to fruit by October.


10th Oct 2015, Marshside, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Remains of the 3 styles (on separate stigmas) still protruding from the enlarging fruit.


10th Oct 2015, Marshside, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The fruit split open to reveal the seeds lurking in the inner recesses, many others fell out as I gouged it open with fingernails in a pincer movement.


10th Oct 2015, Marshside, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The seeds are flesh-coloured with wings (membranous flashes around the edges).


10th Oct 2015, Marshside, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
The seeds are about 1.5mm across including the wings (0.6 - 0.8mm across excluding the wings). [The only other Sea-spurrey with winged seeds is Greater Sea-spurrey, but they are about 1.5x larger including the wider wings).


10th Oct 2015, Marshside, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
Seeds are flattened with membranous diaphanous wings.


10th Oct 2015, Marshside, Sefton Coast, Merseyside. Photo: © RWD
As with most other plants which grow within range of salt-spray near the sea, the leaves and stems are covered in small white pimples which attempt to get rid of excess salt.


Hybridises with : Rock Sea-Spurrey (Spergularia rupicola) to produce Spergularia marina × rupicola.

Lesser Sea-spurrey lacks the densely stickily hairs of Rock Sea-Spurrey (Spergularia rupicola).

Some similarities to : The Corn Spurreys, but the Corn Spurreys have five styles (very centre) whereas the Sea-Spurreys have but three.

All sea-spurreys are hypogynous (possessing the flower parts such as sepals, petals and stamens beneath the ovary). Lesser Sea-spurrey has between (0) 2 and 7 (10) stamens and zer (3) staminodes.


  Spergularia marina  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Caryophyllaceae  

Distribution
family8carnation family8Campion family8Caryophyllaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Spergularia
Spergularia
(Sea Spurreys)

LESSER SEA-SPURREY

Spergularia marina

Carnation & Campion Family [Caryophyllaceae]  

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