Limonium is a genus of 120 flower species. Members are also known as Sea Lavender, Statice, or Marsh-rosemary. Limonium is in Plumbaginaceae, the plumbago or leadwort family. Despite their common names, species are not related to the lavenders or to rosemary.
The genus has a subcosmopolitan distribution in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North America. By far the greatest diversity (over 100 species) is in the area stretching from Canary Islands east through the Mediterranean region to central Asia; for comparison, North America only has 3 native species (Flora of North America).
Sea-lavenders normally grow as herbaceous perennial plants, growing 10-70 cm tall from a rhizome; a few (mainly from the Canary Islands) are woody shrubs up to 2 m tall. Many species flourish in saline soils, and are therefore common near coasts and in salt marshes, and also on saline, gypsum and alkaline soils in continental interiors.
The leaves are simple, entire to lobed, and from 1-30 cm long and 0.5-10 cm broad; most of the leaves are produced in a dense basal rosette, with the flowering stems bearing only small brown scale-leaves (bracts). The flowers are produced on a branched panicle or corymb, the individual flowers small (4-10 mm long) with a five-lobed calyx and corolla, and five stamens; the flower colour is pink, violet to purple in most species, white or yellow in a few. Many of the species are apomictic. The fruit is a small capsule containing a single seed, partly enclosed by the persistent calyx.
Several species are popular garden flowers; they are generally known to gardeners as statices. They are grown both for their flowers, and for the appearance of the calyx, which remains on the plant after the true flowers have fallen, and are known as "everlasting flowers".
See Also: Flowers, Florist, Florists
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