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Greek Sea-spurrey

Spergularia bocconei

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Beaches, gardens, roadsides, rocky places, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside, wasteland.

Pink, 5 petals
Britain's smallest flowered Sea-spurrey with flowers reaching a maximum of 2cm in diameter. The sepals are longer than the pinkish-white flowers.
The fruit is a brown, oval capsule, about 4mm in length. Yellowish-brown seeds.
A stickily hairy, compact, low-growing annual or biennial flower. The fleshy leaves are in opposite pairs along the stems (not whorls). The stipules are not silvery as is the case with some species of Sea-spurrey. Grows in the cracks of rocks and bare ground by the sea. Sometimes encountered on salted roadside verged too.
Other Names:
Boccone's Sandspurry, Boccone's Sea-spurrey.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Spergularia bocconei, also known as "Boccone's sand-spurrey" is a species of flowering plant in the Caryophyllaceae family. It is native to Mediterranean region 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.


Greek Sea-spurrey, also known by its scientific name Spergularia bocconei, is a plant species native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family, which includes several other flowering plants.

Greek Sea-spurrey is a low-growing, mat-forming plant that typically grows up to 15cm in height. It has fleshy, linear leaves that are arranged in a rosette at the base of the stem. The stem is slender, branched, and covered with small, white hairs. The flowers are small, pink, and five-petaled, and they bloom from late spring to early fall.

Greek Sea-spurrey is a salt-tolerant plant that is found growing in sandy or gravelly soils in coastal areas. It is often found growing on rocky cliffs, salt marshes, and dunes. The plant's ability to thrive in harsh coastal environments is due to its adaptations to saltwater, including the presence of glands that excrete excess salt.

Greek Sea-spurrey has several traditional medicinal uses. The plant has been used to treat stomach ailments, such as indigestion and nausea, and as a diuretic to increase urine production. It has also been used to treat skin conditions, such as eczema and rashes.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Greek Sea-spurrey is a popular ornamental plant. Its low-growing habit and pink flowers make it an attractive choice for rock gardens, borders, and other low-maintenance landscaping. It is also a popular plant for container gardens and can be used to provide color and interest in small spaces.

Despite its popularity as an ornamental plant, Greek Sea-spurrey is threatened by habitat loss and degradation. Coastal development, climate change, and pollution are all threats to the plant's survival. Conservation efforts are needed to protect the remaining populations of Greek Sea-spurrey and to ensure its long-term survival.

Greek Sea-spurrey is a fascinating and versatile plant that has a long history of traditional medicinal use and is prized for its ornamental value. As a salt-tolerant plant, it is able to thrive in harsh coastal environments, but its survival is threatened by human activity. Efforts to protect this unique plant species are needed to ensure its continued existence for generations to come.

Greek Sea-spurrey is an important plant species in coastal ecosystems, as it helps to stabilize sand and soil and provides a habitat for a variety of coastal animals, such as insects, birds, and small mammals. Its fleshy leaves are also an important source of food for grazing animals, such as sheep and goats.

In addition to its ecological and cultural significance, Greek Sea-spurrey has potential for use in bioremediation. Its ability to tolerate high levels of salt and other environmental stresses makes it a promising candidate for cleaning up contaminated soils and water in coastal areas.

Research on Greek Sea-spurrey has also revealed several bioactive compounds with potential medicinal applications. For example, a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that extracts of the plant have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which could be useful for treating a variety of health conditions.

Overall, Greek Sea-spurrey is a fascinating plant species that has played an important role in coastal ecosystems and human culture for centuries. Its unique adaptations to harsh coastal environments, traditional medicinal uses, and potential for bioremediation and drug discovery make it an important subject of ongoing research and conservation efforts.

Greek Sea-spurrey is not the only species in the Spergularia genus. There are over 100 species of Spergularia, and many of them have similar characteristics to Greek Sea-spurrey. However, each species has its own unique adaptations and ecological niches.

One closely related species is Spergularia marina, also known as Saltmarsh Sand-spurry. It is also a salt-tolerant plant that is found in coastal areas and has similar medicinal and ecological properties as Greek Sea-spurrey. Another related species is Spergularia rubra, or Red Sand-spurrey, which has a more widespread distribution and is found in a variety of habitats, including coastal dunes and inland rocky areas.

Interestingly, Spergularia species are not the only plants that have adapted to saltwater environments. Other examples include mangroves, seagrasses, and saltmarsh plants. These plants have unique adaptations that allow them to thrive in salty environments, such as specialized root systems that prevent excess salt from being absorbed by the plant.

In conclusion, while Greek Sea-spurrey is a fascinating plant with many interesting properties, it is just one of many plant species that have adapted to coastal environments. Further research on these plants and their unique adaptations could lead to new discoveries in medicine, bioremediation, and ecology. Moreover, protecting these plants and their habitats is crucial for the preservation of coastal ecosystems and the many benefits they provide.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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