Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Slender Sea-purslane - Sesuvium maritimum   (Walter) Britton, Stearns, & Poggenburg
Members of Aizoaceae:
Members of Sesuvium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Caryophyllales » Family Aizoaceae
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Author(Walter) Britton, Stearns, & Poggenburg
DistributionScattered along the coast. Specimens have been seen for five of the eight locations.

This is a coastal species, ranging much farther north than S. portulacastrum; occurs from RI south to southern FL and around the coast to southern TX.
AbundanceRare to sporadically uncommon, as it is an annual and thus numbers vary from site to site from year to year. This is now a State Endangered species. Its State Rank might be closer to S1S2 instead of the NCNHP's S1, but more information on recent populations is needed. Neither species of sea-purslane is well-collected or reported in recent years (except Dare County in 2012-13 and Pamlico in 2021), perhaps owing to difficulty in collecting in protected areas, or simple apathy for small coastal plants.
HabitatThis is a species of sand flats, beaches, sandy damp soil of drawdown zones of ponds and impoundments, and margins of brackish marshes along the coast. The habitats in NC seem to be nearly identical to the other species in the genus.
PhenologyBlooms from May to frost, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis usually is a leaning to somewhat erect herb, with fleshy leaves, not creeping on the ground, rooting at the nodes, and forming mats as does S. portulacastrum. It has opposite to nearly opposite leaves, linear to oblanceolate, about 3/4-inch long and less than 1/4-inch wide. The solitary flowers in the leaf axils are essentially sessile, and white to pale pink, comprised of 5 colored sepals, about 1/3inch across at most. Though this species does tend to sprawl somewhat, it does not root and form mats, and the flower color is paler than in the other species. Also, this species has only 2-3 styles per flower, as opposed to 5 styles per flower in S. portulacastrum. Both of these species are rare, or at least rarely reported, and thus be quite careful in your identification of these two fleshy-leaved species.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Small Sea-purslane, Annual Sea-purslane
State RankS1
Global RankG5
State StatusE
US Status
USACE-agcpFACW link
USACE-empFACW link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieDare County, 2013, Pea Island NWR, South Pond. DareBILPhoto_natural
Eric UngbergRoadside edge of brackish or oligohaline marsh, 1st week August 2021. PamlicoPhoto_natural
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