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

Armeria maritima subsp. californica (Mill.) Willd. (Boiss.) A.E. Porsild
thrift (California seapink)
Plumbaginaceae (Leadwort family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jeremy Gatten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #24585)

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Distribution of Armeria maritima subsp. californica
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a taproot; stems erect, solitary or several, simple, smooth, 10-50 cm tall.
Basal leaves linear, smooth to fringed and hairy, entire, 5-10 cm long, 1-3 mm wide, persistent, stem leaves lacking.
Inflorescence of dense, head-like flower clusters, 1.5-3 cm wide; flowers short-stalked in clusters of 3, subtended by 2 transparent bracts; corollas pinkish to lavender, deeply 5-lobed; calyces pinkish to lavender, 5-6 mm long, soft-hairy, 10 veined, longer than the corollas; outer involucral bracts purplish with papery margins.
Utricles, small, dry, 1-chambered; seeds 1.
Two subspecies are recognized in BC:

1. Outer involucral bracts narrowly tapered or awl-shaped, surpassing the inner ones; leaves smooth......................... ssp. californica (Boiss.) Porsild

1. Outer involucral bracts egg-shaped to rounded, usually shorter than the inner ones; leaves usually minutely fringed below..................... ssp. sibirica (Turcz. ex Boiss.) Nyman

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic beaches and coastal bluffs in the lowland zone; infrequent along the coast, absent from the Queen Charlotte Islands; ssp. sibirica - N to AK and S to WA, ssp. californica - from Vancouver Island to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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

Armeria arctica subsp. californica (Boiss.) Abrams
Armeria californica
Armeria maritima var. californica (Boiss.) G.H.M. Lawrence

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References