Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Saltmarsh Sandspurry - Spergularia marina   (L.) Besser
Members of Caryophyllaceae:
Only member of Spergularia in NC.
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Section 6 » Family Caryophyllaceae
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Author(L.) Besser
DistributionCoastal counties and barrier islands, from the VA line to the SC line, sparingly around the inner margin of Pamlico Sound. A specimen from Wayne County is not in natural habitat.

This is a widespread North American species around both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Some references may consider it as perhaps not native to North America, but Weakley (2018) does.
AbundanceApparently uncommon, and seemingly poorly collected in recent years. The Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora calls it "Locally frequent" in that state, and it is certainly not rare in NC. This is a Watch List species.
HabitatThis species grows in salt marshes or in salt or brackish flats and other tidal flats.
See also Habitat Account for General Tidewater Shorelines and Flats
PhenologyBlooms from June to October, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a leaning to decumbent species, growing to about 9-12 inches long. It is usually much branched, often forming mats. It has numerous pairs of very small leaves, each narrow and fleshy, succulent-looking, about 3/4-inch long. At each node there is a pale sheath-like structure that is easily noticed along the stems. At the ends of branches are clusters of small flowers, with 5 short petals that are light pink to white in color, and about 1/5-inch across. If you are lucky enough to catch the flowers, it may stop you as you walk across a tidal flat, but otherwise you can easily overlook this very low-growing plant.
Taxonomic CommentsA number of references name it as Spergularia salina.

Other Common Name(s)Salt Sandspurry, Lesser Seaspurry. Some references spell the latter word as "spurrey" as opposed to "spurry".
State RankS2
Global RankG5
State StatusW7
US Status
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