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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

  1. Frankenia cordata, Many thanks to Karlee Foster for identification and info, Australian Indigenous Plant Identification
  2. Wildflowers & Plants of Inland Australia by Anne Urban, https://ausemade.com.au/publications/