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Greater Sea-spurrey

Spergularia media

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Annual or Perennial
Maximum Size:
40 centimetres tall
Beaches, gardens, rocky places, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside.

Pink, 5 petals
Pale pink or violet flowers, usually with a white centre. Flowers measure approximately 1cm across. The petals are slightly longer than the sepals. The similar looking Lesser Sea-spurrey (Spergularia marina) has petals which are shorter than the sepals.
A many-seeded, brown, oval pod. Fruit stalks are equal or shorter than the fruit itself.
A hairless, sprawling perennial with yellowish-green, succulent leaves. The stipules are not silvery, unlike the similar looking Sand Spurrey (Spergularia rubra) and Rock Sea-spurrey (Spergularia rupicola).
Other Names:
Intermediate Sand-spurrey, Media Sandspurry.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Spergularia media, also known as "intermediate sand-spurrey" is a species of flowering plant in the Caryophyllaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and it is a annual or perennial herbaceous plant. It has small, linear leaves and produces small white or pink flowers. It prefers sandy soils and it is tolerant to drought and salt conditions, it can be found in coastal dunes and sandy beaches, it can be also used as a ornamental plant in rock gardens, and coastal gardens. It is also known for its medicinal properties, it has been traditionally used for wound healing and for treating respiratory conditions.


Greater Sea-spurrey, scientifically known as Spergularia media, is a small, herbaceous annual plant that belongs to the family Caryophyllaceae. It is native to Europe and can be found growing in a variety of habitats, including coastal sand dunes, shingle beaches, and rocky cliffs.

This plant typically grows to a height of 10-40cm and has a branching stem that is slightly fleshy and green in color. The leaves of Greater Sea-spurrey are linear or lance-shaped, and they are arranged in opposite pairs along the stem. The flowers of this plant are small and pink in color, and they bloom from June to August.

One of the notable features of Greater Sea-spurrey is its ability to adapt to the harsh environmental conditions of its habitat. Its fleshy stem and leaves help it to store water and survive in drought conditions, while its deep roots help it to anchor itself in sandy soils. In addition, its small size and low-growing habit help it to avoid being damaged by strong winds.

Greater Sea-spurrey has a number of traditional medicinal uses. Its leaves and stems have been used to treat conditions such as inflammation, fever, and urinary tract infections. The plant also has astringent properties, and its extract has been used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Despite its many benefits, Greater Sea-spurrey faces several threats to its survival. Coastal development and recreational activities have led to the destruction of its habitat, while climate change has caused the plant to face more frequent and severe droughts. As a result, Greater Sea-spurrey is considered to be a species of conservation concern in some parts of its range.

Greater Sea-spurrey is a fascinating plant that has adapted to the challenging conditions of its coastal habitat. While it has many traditional medicinal uses, it also faces several threats to its survival. Efforts to conserve this plant and its habitat are crucial for ensuring its continued existence and for maintaining the biodiversity of our coastal ecosystems.

Greater Sea-spurrey is an important plant for coastal ecosystems as it helps to stabilize sandy soils and prevent erosion. Its low-growing habit also provides shelter and food for a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths. The plant's flowers are a source of nectar for these pollinators, which play a crucial role in maintaining the health of our natural ecosystems.

In addition to its ecological importance, Greater Sea-spurrey is also of interest to scientists studying plant adaptations to environmental stress. Its ability to store water and survive in drought conditions is of particular interest to researchers studying plant physiology and ecology. By understanding how Greater Sea-spurrey and other plants cope with environmental stress, scientists may be able to develop new crop varieties that are more resistant to drought and other environmental challenges.

If you are interested in growing Greater Sea-spurrey in your garden, it can be easily grown from seed. The plant prefers well-drained, sandy soil and full sun exposure. It can be grown as an ornamental plant in rock gardens or as a groundcover in sunny, dry areas of the garden.

Greater Sea-spurrey is a small but important plant that plays a vital role in our coastal ecosystems. Its ability to adapt to environmental stress, its traditional medicinal uses, and its value to pollinators and other insects make it a plant of great interest and importance. Efforts to conserve and protect this plant and its habitat are crucial for maintaining the health and biodiversity of our coastal ecosystems.

Greater Sea-spurrey has also been used as a food source in some parts of the world. Its leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked as a vegetable, and its seeds can be ground into flour to make bread. However, it is important to note that consuming plants from the wild should be done with caution and only by experienced foragers, as some plants can be toxic or have adverse effects on health.

In addition, Greater Sea-spurrey has cultural significance in some communities. In traditional folklore, the plant was believed to have protective properties and was used in rituals to ward off evil spirits. It was also believed to have healing properties and was used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.

Overall, Greater Sea-spurrey is a fascinating plant with many uses and cultural significance. However, its survival is threatened by human activities and climate change, and efforts to conserve and protect this species are needed to ensure its continued existence. By raising awareness about the importance of this plant and taking action to protect it, we can help to preserve the biodiversity and health of our coastal ecosystems.

Greater Sea-spurrey is a valuable plant for restoring degraded coastal areas. Due to its ability to stabilize sandy soils and survive in harsh conditions, it is often used in habitat restoration projects to help prevent erosion and promote the growth of other plant species. In addition, the plant's low-growing habit and ability to attract pollinators make it an ideal choice for re-establishing natural plant communities in coastal areas.

Conservation efforts for Greater Sea-spurrey and other plant species can take many forms, including habitat restoration, invasive species control, and public education. Many organizations and government agencies around the world are working to protect and conserve coastal ecosystems and the plant and animal species that depend on them.

For example, in the United Kingdom, Greater Sea-spurrey is a priority species for conservation under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. This plan aims to protect and restore threatened species and their habitats in the UK, including coastal habitats where Greater Sea-spurrey is found. In addition, the UK government has designated several marine protected areas (MPAs) to protect and conserve coastal ecosystems and the species that live within them.

In conclusion, Greater Sea-spurrey is a fascinating plant with many uses and ecological and cultural significance. Efforts to conserve and protect this plant and its habitat are crucial for maintaining the health and biodiversity of our coastal ecosystems. Through habitat restoration, invasive species control, and public education, we can work to protect this plant and other threatened species and preserve the natural beauty and ecological diversity of our coastlines.


Greater Sea-spurrey filmed in Silverdale, Lancashire on the 27th May 2023.


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