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Frankenia laevis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Frankeniaceae (Sea-heath)
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Gardens, roadsides, saltmarshes, seaside.

Purple, 5 petals
Pale purple (mauve) flowers, solitary at the bases of leaves. 6 stamens with yellow/orange anther.
A capsule encased inside the sepals.
A low-growing, mat-forming, evergreen, woody perennial, coastal shrub. The leaves occasionally turn red. The leaves look similar to Hottentot-fig (Carpobrotus edulis) but have in rolled margins and are smaller.
Other Names:
Common Sea Heath, Seaside Frankenia, Smooth Frankenia.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Frankenia laevis is a species of flowering plant in the Frankeniaceae family. It is commonly known as "seaside frankenia" or "smooth frankenia." It is native to coastal areas of Europe and North Africa and is tolerant of salt and drought conditions. The plant has small, narrow leaves and produces small, white flowers. It is often used as a ground cover or in rock gardens.


Sea-heath, also known as Frankenia laevis, is a small, evergreen shrub that is commonly found along coastal regions of the world. It belongs to the family Frankeniaceae and is often found growing on sandy soils and salt marshes. Sea-heath is a resilient plant that is well-adapted to the harsh conditions of the coastal environment and is known for its ability to survive in low-nutrient soils.

The sea-heath plant has small, needle-like leaves that are typically green in color. It produces small, pinkish-white flowers that bloom in the summer months. The flowers are followed by small, woody fruits that contain several seeds. The plant is typically low-growing, reaching heights of no more than 30 centimeters.

Sea-heath is an important plant in coastal ecosystems. Its ability to thrive in salty, sandy soils makes it a valuable species in the stabilization of sand dunes and other coastal areas that are prone to erosion. The plant also provides an important habitat for a variety of coastal wildlife, including birds and insects.

In addition to its ecological value, sea-heath has also been used for a variety of medicinal purposes. It has been traditionally used to treat conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and coughs. The plant is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema.

Despite its ecological and medicinal value, sea-heath is facing threats in some parts of the world. Coastal development, overgrazing, and climate change are all factors that can impact the growth and survival of sea-heath populations. As such, conservation efforts are needed to protect this valuable plant species and ensure its continued survival.

Sea-heath is a valuable plant species that plays an important role in coastal ecosystems. Its ability to thrive in salty, sandy soils makes it a valuable tool in the stabilization of coastal areas prone to erosion. Additionally, its medicinal properties make it an important plant in traditional medicine. As we work to protect our coastal environments, it is important that we take steps to ensure the survival of this important plant species.

One of the unique characteristics of sea-heath is its ability to adapt to and tolerate a high level of salinity in the soil. The plant has specialized glands on its leaves that excrete excess salt, allowing it to survive in areas where many other plants cannot. This adaptation makes sea-heath an important species for the restoration of salt-affected ecosystems, such as salt marshes and saline soils.

Sea-heath is also a valuable plant for use in ornamental gardening. Its small size, evergreen foliage, and delicate flowers make it an attractive addition to rock gardens, coastal gardens, and container plantings. Its tolerance to salt spray and windy conditions also make it an ideal plant for coastal landscapes.

In some parts of the world, sea-heath has also been used as a forage crop for livestock. The plant is high in protein and is an important food source for grazing animals in areas where other vegetation is scarce.

However, as with many plant species, sea-heath is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, and sea level rise can all impact the growth and distribution of sea-heath populations. Conservation efforts, such as habitat restoration and reforestation, are important for maintaining the resilience of coastal ecosystems and the plants that inhabit them.

Sea-heath is a resilient and valuable plant species that plays an important role in coastal ecosystems. Its unique adaptations allow it to thrive in challenging environments, and its medicinal and ornamental value make it an important resource for human communities. As we continue to face the challenges of climate change and coastal development, it is essential that we prioritize the conservation and protection of sea-heath and other important plant species.

Sea-heath is also an important plant in the food web of coastal ecosystems. Its small size and low-growing habit provide important shelter and nesting sites for birds and insects. The plant's flowers are an important nectar source for bees and other pollinators, and its seeds are a food source for a variety of animals, including small mammals and birds.

In addition to its ecological and economic value, sea-heath also has cultural significance in some parts of the world. In traditional medicine, the plant has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including respiratory ailments, skin conditions, and digestive issues. Some indigenous cultures also consider sea-heath to have spiritual significance, and it is used in traditional rituals and ceremonies.