Sea Lavender flowerSea Lavender; Marsh Rosemary; Canker-root; Ink-root
(Limonium Carolinianum) Plumbago family
(Statice Limonium of Gray)
Flowers - Very tiny, pale, dull lavender, erect, set along upper side of branches. Calyx 5-toothed, tubular, plaited; corolla of 5 petals opposite as many stamens; 1 pistil with 5 thread-like styles. Scape: 1 to 2 ft. high, slender, leafless, much branched above. Leaves: All from thick, fleshy rootstock, narrowly oblong, tapering into margined petioles, thick, the edges slightly waved, not toothed; midrib prominent.
Preferred Habitat - Salt meadows and marshes.
Flowering Season - July-October.
Distribution - Atlantic coast from Labrador to Florida, westward along the Gulf to Texas; also in Europe.
Seen in masses, from a little distance, this tiny flower looks like blue-gray mist blown in over the meadows from sea, and on closer view each plant suggests sea-spray itself. Thrifty housewives along the coast dry it for winter bouquets, partly for ornament and partly because there is an old wives' tradition that it keeps away moths. Statice, from the Greek verb to stop, hence an astringent, was the generic name formerly applied to the plants, with whose roots these same old women believed they cured canker sores.