Spergularia marina   Lesser Sea-spurrey CC DD N

Spergularia marina

This photograph show both Spergularia media (Greater Sea-spurrey) on the left and Spergularia marina (Lesser sea-spurrey) on the right. The way to tell them apart according to most botanical texts is to look at the relative length of petals and sepals. In S. marina the sepals are longer than the petals and in S. media the petals are longer than the sepals.

Usually but not always. Which is of course, useless. I've lost count of the number of times botanists have stood round a Spergularia at the sea-side trying to identify it by petal and sepal length and arguing.

If there are seeds which when you want them there never are, then look to see if they have winged edges. S. media has wings and S. marina doesn't.

However what is rarely mentioned is that S. marina has 5 or fewer stamens but S media has 10 - much easier to see and obvious in this photo.

This is a common sea-side plant which is found on virtually all stretches of coast in the British Isles and also occurs inland too.


Lindisfarne 15th July 2006

Added on November 27th 2006, updated 10th February 2012

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