Winged Sea Lavender

Limonium lobatum (L. f.) Kuntze

Synonyms - Limonium thouinii, Statice thouinii.

Family: - Plumbaginaceae


Limonium is from the Greek Liemon meaning marsh or meadow and refers to the areas where these plants commonly grow.

Lobatum refers to the calyx lobes.

Other Names:

Sea Lavender

Statice because it used to be in the Statice genus.


An almost hairless, annual or short lived perennial herb with a basal rosette of wavy, lobed leaves, erect broadly winged stems and one sided clusters of purple and white, papery flowers in spring and summer. The small white or yellow flowers are hidden by the large, colourful, blue to deep purple papery calyx and bracts. The small fruits are retained in the papery calyx.

They are native to the Mediterranean region and central Asia and flower in spring.



Two. Long and thin, tip rounded, base tapered. hairless, no stalk.

First Leaves:

Oval. Opposite. Margin lobed and undulating. Tip rounded. Base tapered. Hairy.


Form a rosette.

Petiole - 10-70 mm long.

Blade - 30-250 mm long, lobed with the end lobe larger than the side lobes. Base tapered. Surface hairy.

Lobe tips are rounded and the end lobe has a fine point.

Stem leaves - Parallel sided and continued down the stem as broad wings. Rarely present.


Flower stem - (Scape) 3 winged, 100-400 mm tall, branched. Wings 3-8 mm wide and end in a triangular lobe. Wings very broad below the flower head. Sparsely hairy.

Flower head:

Short, dense, spike of spikelets with 3 bracts. Spikes at the ends of short, jointed branchlets that are conical and broader at the top with 3 wings that end in sharp, rigid three angled lobes.

Outer 2 bracts are small and papery.

Inner bract green, rigid, 2 keeled with 2 curved, conical, horny teeth and 3 rounded, papery lobes at the top.


Pale blue to purple with a yellow to cream centre, papery, almost stalkless, erect.

Ovary - Styles smooth, thread like, free.

Calyx - Purple or blue, 10 mm long, funnel shaped, dry, papery, 5-10 nerved with 5 folded, petal-like lobes. Lobes have pointed tips and alternate with 5 slender bristles. Hairless.

Petals - Smaller than the calyx, yellow or cream to white, tubular and 5 lobed.

Stamens - Attached at the base of the corolla.

Anthers - 5. Pale yellow.



Oval. Small, 2-6 mm long,1-2 mm wide. Brown with a black point. Tip pointed, Edges smooth. Base flat to rounded. Surface shiny and smooth.



Key Characters:

Leaves lobed, without a membranous margin.

Scapes and branches rigid, 3 winged.

Spikes very short and dense.

Calyx limb with 5 lobes, nerves longer ending as alternating bristles.

From J.M. Black.


Life cycle:

Annual or short lived perennial. Germinates in autumn and winter. Grows mainly in the winter and spring.



By seed.

Flowering times:

Spring to summer in Western NSW.

Summer in SA.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:




Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by seed.

Origin and History:

Southern Spain. Eastern Mediterranean. North Africa. Morocco. Algeria.





Temperate. Mediterranean.


Red soils. Calcareous soils. Sandy Mallee soils. Tolerates moderately saline soil.

Plant Associations:

Belah Rosewood and Black Bluebush communities.


Infested areas appear to be increasing in both NSW and WA.


Fodder, but not very palatable.


Weed of pastures, roadsides and disturbed areas.


Not recorded as toxic.



Management and Control:

Grazing reduces the density of infestations.

Infestations often increase where crops are rotated with pastures. Under continuous crop or continuous pasture infestations tend to decline.


Eradication strategies:

Further work is required.

Small areas can be removed manually.

It is relatively tolerant to glyphosate and hormone herbicides.

Grazing and mowing have variable effects depending on the locality.

0.5 g metsulfuron(600g/L) or chlorsulfuron(750g/kg) plus 100 mL spray oil in 10 L water applied by hand spraying until just wet in spring provides reasonable control.

In bushland areas plant tall growing species to increase the levels of shade and help reduce re invasion.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Dwarf Sea Lavender (Limonium binervosum)

Native Sea Lavender (Limonium australe)

Perennial Sea Lavender (Limonium sinuatum) has narrower wings on the stems and white, yellow, mauve or blue papery flowers.

(Limonium companyonis)

(Limonium myrianthum)

(Limonium otolepis)

Plants of similar appearance:


Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P680. Diagram.

Cunningham, G.M., Mulham, W.E., Milthorpe, P.L. and Leigh, J.H. (1992). Plants of Western New South Wales. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P547. Photo.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P196-197. Photo.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #749.4.

Moerkerk, M.R. and Barnett, A.G. (1998). More Crop Weeds. R.G. and F.J. Richardson, Melbourne. P111. Diagrams. Photos.


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