Plant of the month

La Concepción Historical Botanical Garden

Limoniastrum

Scientific name: Limoniastrum monopetalum Boiss.

Family: Plumbaginaceae

Common name: Shrubby statice, Grand statice

There is a good specimen of this species in the rockery with plants that live in a Mediterranean climate, in the coastal area plot. It is a dense, dense, highly branched evergreen shrub, which can grow to a height of almost one and a half metres. In late spring, summer and well into autumn it is full of small lilac-coloured flowers.

Shrubby statice is found in salt marshes, salt marshes, sandbanks and coastal rocky areas around the Mediterranean region. Its branches are slender, ascending and somewhat bent under its weight. The lower part is bare, as only the leaves remain on the upper part. They are entire, smooth-edged, lanceolate and succulent or fleshy in texture; at the base they widen to form a sheath around the stem; they accumulate carbonate deposits, so they acquire whitish granules on the surface, giving the plant a bluish-grey colouring. The flowers are arranged in a spike-like inflorescence. The calyx is tubular, dividing at the end into 5 teeth; the corolla has the petals welded together at the bottom, hence the name of the species, as if it had only one petal (although in reality there are 5 petals joined together). The name Limoniastrum is due to its resemblance to other plants of the genus Limonium.

It is indifferent to the type of soil, as long as it is well drained, as it is a plant of dry places and does not like excess humidity. It can be multiplied by cuttings. In Egypt it is used as fodder for camels. There it has been found to be the only species that can live in polluted areas near oil pipelines and oil refineries. It has also been found to be able to absorb heavy metals, so it can serve as a decontaminant. For medicinal purposes it is taken in infusions. Its beautiful flowering makes it being cultivated as an ornamental, and it is ideal for its low maintenance and drought tolerance.