Scientific name Puccinellia maritima – Limonium humile saltmarsh
Common name Common Saltmarsh-grass – Lax-flowered Sea-lavender saltmarsh
Community code SM2C

 

SM2C: Puccinellia maritima – Limonium humile saltmarsh  SM2C: Puccinellia maritima – Limonium humile saltmarsh  SM2C map: Puccinellia maritima – Limonium humile saltmarsh

Download full pdf synopsis: SM2C

 

Vegetation

This is a rather variable saltmarsh community typically dominated by Puccinellia maritima. Salicornia agg., Limonium humile and Spergularia media are the other constants and the small lavender flowers of Limonium can make an attractive display later in the summer. Frequent associates are Aster tripolium, Suaeda maritima and Spartina agg., all of which can be plentiful. Occasionally, one will find some Atriplex portulacoides, Armeria maritima, Plantago maritima and Triglochin maritimum. There can be a well-developed algal mat and macroalgal species such as Fucus spiralis and Pelvetia canaliculata may be encountered.

 

Ecology

This is a lower marsh community that is regularly inundated and can occur on a range of substrates including soft muds. Conditions are base-rich.

 

Sub-communities

No sub-communities have been described for this community.

 

Similar communities

This community is somewhat transitional between the others of group SM2 and those of SM1. It does have some distinct features of its own, however, as Limonium humile is more frequent here than anywhere else on the saltmarsh. Limonium can be abundant in SM3B, but there Plantago maritima is the dominant species. Salicornia agg. and Spartina agg. can both be abundant, but there should be greater cover of other species than is typically found in stands of SM1A or SM1B.

 

Conservation value

Almost all examples of this vegetation qualify as EU HD Annex I habitat 1330 Atlantic salt meadows. Where Sarcocornia perennis occurs, the vegetation is referable to habitat 1420 Halophilous scrub.  This rare species of the southeast is also listed on the Flora Protection Order. It is typically a species-poor community, but the species that do occur are specialists.

 

Management

The main threats to this saltmarsh community are probably grazing by livestock and invasion by Spartina agg. Sea-level rises as a result of climate change could potentially have an impact, particularly in areas susceptible to coastal squeeze.