E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Glaux maritima L.
sea-milkwort (sea milkwort)
Myrsinaceae (Myrsine family)
(Previously in Primulaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Aaron Baldwin  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #14253)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Glaux maritima
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Species Information

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Perennial fleshy herb from a shallow rhizome, smooth and often glaucous throughout; stems ascending-erect, several, branched from below, 3-30 cm tall, leafy to the tip.
Basal leaves lacking; stem leaves crowded, opposite below and alternate above, unstalked, egg-shaped to oblong, 1.5-10 mm long, 5-25 mm wide, jointed at the bases, blunt to barely pointy-tipped.
Inflorescence of small, inconspicuous, solitary, axillary, unstalked to stalked flowers; corollas membranous and much shorter than the calyces or lacking; calyces cup-shaped, 4-5 mm long, white or pinkish, 5-lobed, the lobes petal-like, egg-shaped, about equalling the tubes; stamens 5, alternate with the calyx lobes.
Capsules, about 2.5 mm long, opening by valves the full length; seeds several, flattened, shed with the placenta as a unit.
Two subspecies occur in BC:

1. Leaves egg-shaped to oblong, length to width ratios of more than 3.25, rounded at the tips; habit more or less erect; plants strictly coastal..................... ssp. obtusifolia (Fern.) Boivin

1. Leaves narrower, length to width ratios of 3.0 or less, pointed at the tips; habit more or less prostrate; plants of NC and E BC...................... ssp. maritima

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Tideflats, coastal marshes and beaches, interior alkaline marshes and wet meadows in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common in coastal, NC and E BC, less frequent elsewhere; circumpolar, widespread in arctic and temperate NA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Glaux maritima

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 30 1075
Slope Gradient (%) 0 1 10
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
54 152 240
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 6 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(9), CWH(26), IDF(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Glaux maritima subsp. obtusifolia (Fernald) B. Boivin
Glaux maritima var. angustifolia B. Boivin
Glaux maritima var. macrophylla B. Boivin
Glaux maritima var. obtusifolia Fernald

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

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General References