Limonium is a genus of about 600 flowering plant species. Members are also known as sea-lavender, statice, caspia or marsh-rosemary. Despite their common names, species are not related to the lavenders or to rosemary. They are instead in Plumbaginaceae, the plumbago or leadwort family. The generic name is from the Latin līmōnion, used by Pliny for a wild plant and is ultimately derived from the Ancient Greek leimon (λειμών, 'meadow').[1]

Limonium perezii at the San Francisco Botanical Garden
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Plumbaginaceae
Genus: Limonium

About 600 species; see text

Distribution edit

The genus has a subcosmopolitan distribution in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Australia. By far the greatest diversity (over 100 species) is in the area stretching from the Canary Islands east through the Mediterranean region to central Asia; for comparison, North America only has three native Limonium species.[2]

Description edit

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 metres 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 are small (4–10 mm long) with a five-lobed calyx and corolla, and five stamens; the flower colour is pink or 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.

Features edit

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".

Species edit

There are about 600 species in the genus, many of them local endemic species with a very restricted range.[3] Species not given a common name here are generally referred to simply as "sea-lavender", "statice," or "marsh-rosemary".

Limonium scabrum
Limonium macrophyllum

Some species formerly included in Limonium, e.g. L. tataricum, have now been transferred to the separate genus Goniolimon.

References edit

  1. ^ "limonium". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  2. ^ Flora of North America
  3. ^ Koutroumpa, Konstantina; Theodoridis, Spyros; Warren, Ben H.; Jiménez, Ares; Celep, Ferhat; Doğan, Musa; Romeiras, Maria M.; Santos-Guerra, Arnoldo; Fernández-Palacios, Jóse María; Caujapé-Castells, Juli; Moura, Mónica; Menezes De Sequeira, Miguel; Conti, Elena (2018). "An expanded molecular phylogeny of Plumbaginaceae, with emphasis on Limonium (sea lavenders): Taxonomic implications and biogeographic considerations". Ecology and Evolution. 8 (24): 12397–12424. Bibcode:2018EcoEv...812397K. doi:10.1002/ece3.4553. PMC 6308857. PMID 30619554. S2CID 57573184.
  4. ^ Mozaffarian, V. 1996. A dictionary of Iranian plant names: Latin, English, Persian. Tehran: Farhang-e Moʻaser.
  5. ^ Flora Europaea

External links edit