The Sea Heath (Frankenia cordata) belongs to the Frankeniaceae (sea heath family), a group of dwarf shrubs or herbs that are salt tolerant.
F. cordata pictured here is a low ground-hugging perennial shrub, usually found growing at the edge of claypans and salt lakes. Forming hummocks shape growth, it has a woody taproot.
The plant has minute bristle when young, losing the bristle as it matures. The leaves are an oblong to ovate (oval to egg shape), with a notched base and rolled edges. The underside of the leaves are finely haired, whilst the upper surface is hairless and salt-encrusted. The crystallisation is from the plant drawing the salt up from the soil.1
The flower has five petals about 1 cm long, a cylindrical bristly calyx, and a whorl of bracts around the base.2
- Scientific classification
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Clade: Tracheophytes
- Clade: Angiosperms
- Clade: Eudicots
- Order: Caryophyllales
- Family: Frankeniaceae
- Genus: Frankenia
- Species: Frankenia cordata
Footnote & References
- Frankenia cordata, Many thanks to Karlee Foster for identification and info, Australian Indigenous Plant Identification
- Wildflowers & Plants of Inland Australia by Anne Urban, https://ausemade.com.au/publications/