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Common Sea-lavender

Limonium vulgare

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Plumbaginaceae (Thrift)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Beaches, gardens, mud, mudflats, rocky places, saltmarshes, sand dunes, seaside, wetland.

Purple, 5 petals
Common Sea-lavender produces small clusters of tiny flowers. The flowers are typically lavender to violet in color, and they form dense, branched inflorescences at the top of sturdy, wiry stems. Each individual flower consists of five petals and is quite small, measuring around 2-4 millimeters in diameter. The inflorescences create a visually striking display, and the flowers have a delicate, papery texture. Common Sea-lavender is known for its ability to retain its vibrant color even after drying, making it a popular choice for dried flower arrangements. The overall appearance of the flowers contributes to the plant's charm and appeal, particularly in coastal habitats where it thrives.
The fruit of Common Sea-lavender is typically a small, dry, one-seeded capsule. After the flowers have been fertilized, the capsules develop and contain a single seed. As the fruit matures, the capsule may split open, dispersing the seed. The seeds are often small and light, adapted for wind dispersal or carried by water in the coastal environments where Common Sea-lavender is commonly found. The plant's reproductive structures contribute to its ecological adaptation in maritime habitats.
The leaves of Common Sea-lavender are typically lance-shaped and can vary in size, ranging from 5 to 15 centimeters in length. They have a smooth or slightly wavy margin and are often arranged in a basal rosette. The leaves are simple, entire, and may have a slightly succulent texture. The upper surface of the leaves is usually green, while the lower surface may appear paler. Common Sea-lavender is adapted to coastal environments, and its leaves often have a thick, fleshy consistency, helping the plant withstand the challenging conditions of salt spray, high winds, and saline soils commonly found in coastal habitats. Overall, the leaves contribute to the plant's ability to thrive in the harsh conditions of its natural habitat.
Common Sea-lavender is not typically known for having a strong or distinctive fragrance. The plant is more valued for its visual appeal, particularly its clusters of small, colourful flowers. While some plants are known for their aromatic qualities, Sea-lavender is generally not sought after for its fragrance. If there is any scent, it is usually subtle and not a prominent feature of the plant. The primary attraction of Common Sea-lavender lies in its coastal beauty and the visual interest it adds to its natural habitat.
Other Names:
Sea-lavendar, Statice.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Limonium vulgare, also known as "statice" or "sea lavender," is a species of flowering plant in the Plumbaginaceae family. It is native to the Mediterranean region and Europe, and is a perennial plant that can grow up to 60 centimeters tall. It has large, oblong leaves and produces spikes of small, brightly colored flowers in shades of purple, blue, pink and white. It is tolerant of salt and drought conditions and is often used as a cut flower. It is also used as a garden plant in coastal gardens and rock gardens.


Common Sea-lavender (Limonium vulgare) is a herbaceous perennial plant that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is commonly found in salt marshes, coastal areas, and other habitats with saline soils. This plant is also known by several other common names such as statice, marsh-rosemary, and sea-lavender.

Description and Characteristics

The Common Sea-lavender is a highly adaptable plant that can grow up to 60 cm in height. It has long, thin, and branching stems that are covered with small, narrow leaves. The leaves are about 2 to 10 cm long and have a smooth surface. The plant produces small, purplish-blue flowers that are arranged in dense clusters on the top of the stems. These flowers are about 4 to 6 mm in diameter and have five petals that are fused at the base.

Habitat and Distribution

Common Sea-lavender is a salt-tolerant plant that thrives in saline soils. It is commonly found in coastal areas, salt marshes, and other habitats that are exposed to salt spray. This plant is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but it has been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America.

Uses and Benefits

The Common Sea-lavender has been used for various purposes throughout history. It has been used as a medicinal plant to treat various ailments such as headaches, rheumatism, and respiratory problems. The plant has also been used to make a blue dye that was used to color textiles.

In modern times, Common Sea-lavender is mostly used as an ornamental plant in gardens and landscapes. Its striking purple-blue flowers are a popular addition to floral arrangements, and the plant is often used in dried flower arrangements. Common Sea-lavender is also used as a natural way to prevent erosion in coastal areas.

Conservation Status

Common Sea-lavender is a common plant that is not currently listed as endangered. However, like many coastal species, it is at risk due to habitat destruction and pollution. Conservation efforts are necessary to protect the coastal areas where this plant grows and to ensure that it continues to thrive in its natural habitat.

Common Sea-lavender is a fascinating and useful plant that has been used for centuries. Its hardy nature and striking appearance make it a popular choice for gardens and landscapes, and its ecological benefits make it an important plant to protect in coastal areas.


Common Sea-lavender is an important plant for the ecology of salt marshes and coastal habitats. It helps stabilize the soil and prevent erosion by producing an extensive root system that holds the soil in place. The plant is also an important food source for several species of insects and birds, including bees, butterflies, and finches.

The plant is highly adapted to saline soils and is capable of surviving in harsh coastal conditions. It has specialized structures in its leaves that allow it to excrete excess salt, preventing salt buildup in its tissues. This adaptation allows the plant to thrive in areas where other plants cannot survive.


Common Sea-lavender is a hardy plant that is relatively easy to grow. It prefers well-draining soil that is high in organic matter and full sun exposure. The plant can tolerate some shade, but it will produce fewer flowers in shady areas.

Propagation is usually done by seeds, but the plant can also be propagated by dividing the root clumps. Seeds can be sown in early spring, and the plant will start to flower in late summer. Once established, the plant requires very little maintenance and is relatively pest-free.

In the garden, Common Sea-lavender is often used in mixed borders, rock gardens, and in seaside gardens. The plant looks especially attractive when grown in groups, and its flowers make a striking addition to bouquets and dried flower arrangements.

Common Sea-lavender is a fascinating plant that is well adapted to coastal habitats. Its unique adaptations and ecological benefits make it an important plant to protect, and its ornamental qualities make it a popular choice for gardens and landscapes. Whether grown for its ornamental value or ecological benefits, Common Sea-lavender is a versatile plant that is worth considering for any coastal garden or landscape.

Medicinal Properties

Common Sea-lavender has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and several studies have confirmed its potential health benefits. The plant contains several compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties.

One study found that Common Sea-lavender extracts can help reduce inflammation and pain, making it a potential treatment for conditions such as arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. The plant has also been shown to have antimicrobial properties, making it effective against several types of bacteria and fungi.

In addition to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, Common Sea-lavender has been shown to have antioxidant properties, which can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. This makes the plant a potential treatment for conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.

While more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of Common Sea-lavender, its traditional uses in folk medicine and the results of several studies suggest that it may have several promising applications in modern medicine.

Culinary Uses

Common Sea-lavender has also been used in culinary traditions. The plant has a slightly salty and tangy flavor that makes it a popular addition to salads, soups, and other dishes. The plant is often used in Scandinavian and Eastern European cuisines, where it is added to pickles, stews, and other savory dishes.

In addition to its flavor, Common Sea-lavender is also a good source of several nutrients, including vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. The plant is low in calories and high in dietary fiber, making it a healthy addition to any diet.

In conclusion, Common Sea-lavender is a versatile plant with several potential health benefits, ecological benefits, and culinary uses. Whether grown for its ornamental value or its potential health benefits, this hardy plant is a fascinating addition to any garden or landscape. With its unique adaptations and striking appearance, Common Sea-lavender is a plant worth considering for anyone interested in coastal ecology, traditional medicine, or culinary traditions.

20 Common Sea-lavender Facts

  1. Salt-Loving Beauty: Common Sea-lavender (Limonium vulgare) is well-adapted to coastal environments and thrives in habitats with saline or brackish conditions.

  2. Vivid Blooms: The plant produces small clusters of vibrant lavender to violet flowers, creating a visually striking display, especially in coastal landscapes.

  3. Dried Flower Appeal: Common Sea-lavender is popular for dried flower arrangements, retaining its colour and appeal even after drying, making it a sought-after choice for crafts and decorations.

  4. Botanical Resilience: The leaves of Common Sea-lavender often have a thick, succulent texture, aiding the plant's ability to withstand salt spray, high winds, and saline soils in its coastal habitat.

  5. Adaptation to Harsh Conditions: Its ecological adaptations, such as succulent leaves and tolerance to saline environments, showcase the plant's ability to thrive in challenging coastal conditions.

  6. Migratory Bird Habitat: The dense vegetation of Sea-lavender provides habitat and food sources for various bird species, contributing to coastal biodiversity.

  7. Wind Dispersal: The small, light seeds of Common Sea-lavender are adapted for wind dispersal, helping the plant colonize new areas in its coastal habitat.

  8. Coastal Distribution: Found along the coasts of Europe, including the shores of the UK, Common Sea-lavender plays a role in stabilizing coastal ecosystems.

  9. Medicinal Uses: Historically, some species of Sea-lavender were used in traditional medicine for their purported diuretic and astringent properties.

  10. Ecological Indicator: The presence of Sea-lavender can be an indicator of salt marsh ecosystems, contributing to the monitoring of coastal environmental health.

  11. Attracts Pollinators: Despite its lack of a strong fragrance, Sea-lavender still attracts various pollinators, including bees and butterflies, contributing to local pollination networks.

  12. Perennial Habit: Common Sea-lavender is a perennial plant, meaning it lives for multiple growing seasons, returning each year to grace its coastal habitat with blooms.

  13. Landscape Ornament: Beyond its natural habitat, Sea-lavender is cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens, providing a touch of coastal beauty to various landscapes.

  14. Coastal Erosion Control: The root systems of Sea-lavender plants help stabilize soil and prevent coastal erosion, offering valuable ecosystem services.

  15. Low Maintenance: In gardening, Sea-lavender is appreciated for its low-maintenance requirements, making it a suitable choice for those seeking resilient and attractive plants.

  16. Biodiversity Support: Sea-lavender contributes to the overall biodiversity of coastal areas by providing habitat and food sources for various insects and small animals.

  17. Hardy Survivor: This plant showcases resilience by enduring harsh conditions, from strong winds to saltwater exposure, making it a hardy survivor in its coastal niche.

  18. Symbiotic Relationships: Sea-lavender may form symbiotic relationships with certain fungi, enhancing its nutrient uptake abilities in challenging soils.

  19. Unique Inflorescence: The flowers of Common Sea-lavender form unique branched inflorescences, creating a captivating structure in addition to their vibrant colours.

  20. Conservation Significance: As a characteristic species of coastal habitats, the conservation of Common Sea-lavender is crucial for maintaining the ecological balance and biodiversity of these sensitive ecosystems.


Video 1: Common Sea-lavender filmed in Orford, Suffolk on the 30th June 2022.


Video 2: Common Sea-lavender filmed in Orford, Suffolk on the 30th June 2022.


Video 3: Common Sea-lavender filmed at Glasson in Lancashire on the 30th July 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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