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Genus Limonium Family Plumbaginaceae

Description: Perennial or sometimes annual herbs, or shrubs.

Leaves simple, usually in a basal rosette, leafy branches sometimes present; basal and stem leaves often absent at flowering.

Inflorescence a broad corymbose panicle, with terminal parts spike-like of 1–5 flowers clustered within 3 bracts. Calyx funnel-shaped, with 5 lobes spreading, dry and membranous, usually brightly coloured and obvious, persistent. Corolla shortly tubular, funnel-shaped. Stamens 5, fused to the base of the corolla tube. Styles 5, usually distinct.

Capsule small, enclosed in persistent calyx. Seed small.

Photo Karen L Wilson

Other photo
Photo Karen L Wilson

Distribution and occurrence: World: 300 species, cosmopolitan, especially Mediterranean to Asia. Australia: 7 species (2 species endemic, 5 species naturalized), all States.

Chiefly in maritime conditions or saline deserts.

A number of species are cultivated as ornamentals. Some of these have become naturalized and are becoming invasive weeds, others are only isolated occurrences.

Text by G. J. Harden (1990); edited KL Wilson (Dec 2013)
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Flowering stems not winged, stems terete or ribbed; calyx less than 5 mm long2
Flowering stems prominently 3-winged; calyx more than 8 mm long4
2Stem leaves scale-like, often apparently absent3
Stem leaves more than 10 mm wide, often falling early
                       Back to 1
Limonium otolepis
3Corolla pink to violet; calyx 4.5–5.5 mm long, pinkLimonium hyblaeum
Corolla yellow; calyx 6–8 mm long, white to pale pink
                       Back to 2
Limonium australe
4Wings of stem and branchlets 3–8 mm wide, ending in a stiff lobe 10–30 mm long; calyx pale blue or whitish, c. 10 mm long; more or less glabrous annualLimonium lobatum
Wings of stem 1–3 mm wide, ending in a linear to lanceolate leaf-like appendage 20–50 mm long; calyx bright blue or purplish, c. 15 mm long; scabrous perennial
                       Back to 1
Limonium sinuatum

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