There are four different species called sea lavender at the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. They all belong to the genus Limonium, and can be recognized by their papery, colored calyx, which is often thought to be the flower itself. However, only California sea lavender (L. californicum) is native to California. Wavyleaf sea lavender (L. sinuatum) is native to the Mediterranean region, and is distinguished from the other sea lavender species by its deeply lobed (wavy) leaves and flat winged flowering stems which give it the names wavyleaf sea lavender, cut-leaf sea lavender and winged sea lavender.
Wavyleaf Sea Lavender (not native)
Other Common Names:
Cut-leaf sea lavender, winged sea lavender, notch leaf marsh rosemary, sea lavender, statice, wavy sea lavender, everlasting flower, perennial sea-lavender
Wavyleaf sea lavender, originally from the Mediterranean region, has widely naturalized. In western and southeastern Australia, it is now regarded as an environmental weed, since it has escaped from ornamental gardens, and is invading the native saline wetlands of those areas.235
Alternate Scientific Names:
Wavyleaf sea lavender is considered a moderate halophyte,179 a type of plant that has adapted to elevated concentrations of salts in the soil.236 Most halophytes, including wavyleaf sea lavender, can block the uptake of excess salts at their roots. In addition, they have salt glands in their leaves (sometimes called chalk glands in wavyleaf sea lavender). These structures can excrete the variety of salts that escape the blocking mechanisms at the roots.176, 237
Several species of Limonium are important garden plants in Mediterranean climates.214 They tolerate heat and a variety of soil types; once established they need little water. The delicate papery flowers of wavyleaf sea lavender are popular for dry arrangements. In 2014, the USDA estimated the annual sales value for cut flowers of sea lavenders at over 1 million dollars.238