This tall and lovely maritime species skirts the Atlantic Coast from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Florida and Mexico. It is also found in Bermuda. From August to December it flourishes wherever sandy soil and brackish waters abound, illuminating the salt marshes, sea-beaches and rocky shores near the sea or along tidal waters adjacent thereto, with the brilliance of its rich, golden yellow torch. It is easily distinguished by its smooth, stout, usually single stalk, which rises from two to eight feet in height, and also by its thick, fleshy, smooth-edged, slightly clasping, lance-shaped, bright green leaves, showing from two to five lateral veins. The basal leaves are oblong and paddle-shaped, and taper into long stems. The flowers are rather large, and have from seven to ten rays. They are thickly grouped on short, spreading, recurved stems, many of which form a large, showy, terminal, leafy plume. This charming species inspired Celia Thaxter, who wrote:
"Graceful, tossing plumes of glowing gold, Waving lonely on the rocky ledge; Leaning seaward, lovely to behold,
Clinging to the high cliff's ragged edge."