Biological Flora of the British Isles: Eryngium maritimum

Isermann, Maike and Rooney, Paul (2014) Biological Flora of the British Isles: Eryngium maritimum. Journal of Ecology, 102. pp. 789-821. ISSN 1365-2745

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1. This account presents information on all aspects of the biology of Eryngium maritimum L. (Sea
Holly) that are relevant to understanding its ecological characteristics and behaviour. The main topics
are presented within the standard framework of the Biological Flora of the British Isles: distribution,
habitat, communities, responses to biotic factors, responses to environment, structure and
physiology, phenology, floral and seed characters, herbivores and disease, history and conservation.
2. Eryngium maritimum is a native perennial hemicryptophyte, with a large taproot, spiny and leathery
leaves and a pale bluish inflorescence. It has a more or less continuous distribution in suitable
habitats along the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland up to about 55° N, but it is more scattered further
north. On the west coast, it is found south of the Hebrides, and on the east coast, with some
exceptions, south of Yorkshire. In Europe, it has a wide, but mainly southern temperate, European
distribution along the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, the Baltic, the Mediterranean, and the Black and
Azov Seas. Its northern distribution limit is at c. 60° N.
3. Eryngium maritimum grows typically on sand and shingle beaches, foredunes and yellow dunes,
as well as in semi-fixed grey dunes. Its habitats have full sunlight and are more or less dry. It occurs
in many coastal plant communities from the beach inland, and because of its wide European distribution,
it occurs with members of several different biogeographical species groups.
4. Protected from grazing by its spininess and sclerophylly, E. maritimum is nevertheless vulnerable
to direct damage by trampling. It supports few insect herbivores, probably because of chemical
defences. Historically, it has had a great number of medicinal uses.
5. Eryngium maritimum is unable to withstand competition from faster and more densely growing
plant species. In many coastal regions, in both temperate and mediterranean parts of Europe, it is
one of the rarest and most threatened plant species, mainly because of habitat loss and land-use

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: "This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Isermann, M. and Rooney, P. (2014) Biological Flora of the British Isles: Eryngium maritimum. Journal of Ecology, 102, pp. 789-821 which has been published in final form at . This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving."
Keywords: climatic limitation, communities, conservation, ecophysiology, geographical and altitudinal distribution, germination, herbivory, mycorrhiza, reproductive biology, soils
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Geography and Environmental Science
Depositing User: Paul ROONEY
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2016 11:52
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2016 13:52

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