|Armeria maritima at Dunnet Head, Scotland|
It is a popular garden flower, known by several common names, including thrift, sea thrift, and sea pink. The plant has been distributed worldwide as a garden and cut flower. It does well in gardens designed as xeriscapes or rock gardens.
It is a compact perennial which grows in low clumps and sends up long stems from which globes of bright pink flowers blossom. In some cases purple, white or red flowers also occur.
The plant can be found in the wild in coastal areas across the Northern Hemisphere, especially in Europe, but also occurs in parts of South America. It is a common sight in British marshes. It can grow in dry, sandy, saline conditions such as those at beaches and salt marshes.
Armeria maritima has a great copper-tolerance, and is able to grow in soils with copper concentrations of up to 6400 mg/kg. One mechanism proposed is that not much copper is transported up the shoot of the plant, and is excreted from decaying leaves. Some of the physiology and metabolism of this species has been described, of particular note is how the metabolism of this species is altered with elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.
There are several subspecies.
The British threepence coin issued between 1937 and 1952 had a design of thrift on the reverse.
As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose sea thrift as the "county flower" of the Isles of Scilly.
- Brewin LE, Mehra A, Lynch PT, Farago ME (March 2003). "Mechanisms of copper tolerance by Armeria maritima in Dolfrwyong Bog, north Wales—initial studies" (PDF). Environ Geochem Health 25 (1): 147–56. PMID 12901090.
- Davey, M. P.; Harmens, H.; Ashenden, T. W.; Edwards, R.; Baxter, R. (2007). "Species-specific effects of elevated CO2 on resource allocation in Plantago maritima and Armeria maritima". Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 35 (3): 121. doi:10.1016/j.bse.2006.09.004.
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