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Seaside joyweed
Alternanthera maritima

Copyright by: George D. Gann

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations.

Ecological Restoration Notes: An uncommon element of beach dunes and coastal strand, except in Palm Beach and Martin counties where more common.

Availability: Grown by enthusiasts and occasionally by native plant nurseries.

Description: Small scrambling herb.

Dimensions: Typically 3-12 inches in height or higher, climbing over the ground or other vegetation and forming large patches.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Monroe County Keys north to St. Lucie and Collier counties; the West Indies and South America. Very rare or absent in the upper and middle Monroe County Keys.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Coastal beaches, thickets, and hammock edges.

Soils: Moist, well-drained sandy soils, with or without humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Frontline; grows in direct salt wind but away from constant salt spray.

Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun.

Flower Color: White.

Flower Characteristics: Inconspicuous.

Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-summer.

Fruit: Inconspicuous utricle. All year.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from cuttings.

References: Miami-Dade County Landscape Manual (2005).

Comments: For unknown reasons, this species is rather rare in South Florida, except in Palm Beach and Martin counties. Unlike its common relative, yellow joyweed (A. flavescens), its flowering heads are not stalked.

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Dennis de Zeeuw

Other data on Alternanthera maritima available from:

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