Thrift - beautiful pink wild flowers of the British coastline


Thrift - beautiful pink wild flowers of the British coastline

Perky round tufts of pink are a familiar sight on coastal walks in Britain - often clinging to cliff edges or craggy rocks. This is thrift, or sea pink, a wild flower well-adapted to an environment that defeats many other plants.

Thrift (Armeria maritima) is a perennial, and flowers mainly from April to July, but can hang on until early autumn. The rounded, pink, clover-like flowers of Thrift appear on long stems above springy cushions of foliage. As well as rocky cliffs, thrift can also be commonly found brightening up saltmarshes and other sandy areas.

Thrift is very tolerant of poor soils, exposed places and salty conditions - which make it a perfect plant for coastal areas. It is even able to grow on the most exposed cliff tops, pebbly beaches and salt marshes. The plant has also started to appear inland on roadsides, as salting to prevent ice creates favourable conditions for it.

Thrift is a great source of nectar, which makes it particularly attractive to butterflies and moths. Its ability to withstand salty breezes has made it a popular plant with coastal gardeners and for the public floral displays by seaside councils. It is an excellent garden plant for well-drained, sandy soils.

Thrift was used as an emblem on the British threepenny-bit pre-decimal coin between 1937 and 1953 - the Royal Mint no doubt aware of the double meaning in its name.

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