Seaside plants with perfect, regular flowers in 1-sided racemes or spikes; 5-parted and with plaited calyx.

Marsh Rosemary; Sea Lavender (Limon-Ium Carolinianum)

Marsh Rosemary; Sea Lavender (Limon-Ium Carolinianum) is a very characteristic plant of the seashore; it is found very commonly in salt marshes along the Atlantic coast from Labrador to Florida, and along the Gulf to Texas.

Sea Lavender; Rosemary. Limonium carolinianum.

Sea Lavender; Rosemary. Limonium carolinianum.

The plant has a thick, woody, very astringent root, from which grows a single naked stalk. This stem divides into numerous branches and branchlets, all destitute of leaves and spreading out so that the appearance of the whole plant is that of a very diminutive tree. The leaves all radiate from the root at the base of the flower stalk; they are spatulate-shaped, thick, almost smooth-edged, have a prominent mid-rib and are on long stems.

At the end of each branchlet. is a slender, 1-sided raceme of tiny buds. From July until September these open out into tiny lavender flowers with five tiny petals, each coming from a 5-toothed, ribbed calyx.

Large portions of marshes are often covered with Marsh Rosemary, growing so closely together that the branches of the different plants interlock; when these are in flower, they give a purplish misty appearance to the whole marsh.

The little Sharp-tailed Sparrow is a common bird of the New England salt marshes. I have often found their little homes, built of woven grasses, attached to the marsh grass and sheltered by little patches of seaweed that had lodged in the branches of Marsh Rosemary during high spring tides.

If picked in the early stages of its bloom, Sea Lavender retains the color, of its flowers when dried and is often used for decorations in vases.