Lechea maritima is a perennial herb, 10-40 cm tall from a woody taproot to 10 cm long (Barringer 2004), stems pale, whitish, fine-hairy, producing over-wintering leafy basal rosette in Autumn; (Barringer 2004).
Leaves of basal shoots whorled, 0.5-1.2 cm long, 0.1-0.5 cm wide, lance-shaped, pointed at both ends, pale-hairy below, stem leaves 0.7-2.5 cm long, 0.1-0.4 cm wide, elliptic, those below inflorescence whorled, soon deciduous; bracts on inflorescence branches, alternate and more persistent, 0.5-0.6 cm long, ca 0.1 cm wide (Barringer 2004).
Flowers reddish, minute, buds round, no petals, sepals 5, hairy (use lens), outer 2 the shortest, 0.1 cm long, tips pointed, narrow, inner three, broader, ca 0.2 cm long, 0.1 cm wide, tips blunt, drying and persistent, equal to or slightly longer than fruit; stamens 5-15; ovary superior, no style, stigma feathery; inflorescence to 35 cm long, 1/2-2/3 of plant, branches numerous, divergent; blooming and fruiting Aug.-Nov.; most likely wind pollinated (Barringer 2004).
Fruit dry capsule to 0.2 cm long, about as long as persistent sepals; seesds 4-6, eaten by some birds (Martin et al. 1951; Barringer 2004).
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: Dunes, beaches above high tide line, vacant lots near shore, in relatively undisturbed sites (Barringer 2004).
Notes: Stems persistent through winter, reddish brown with overwintering leafy basal shoots. Basal shoots form as white, hairy buds in August and remain until April or May, then tips grow upward to form flowering stems, while losing basal leaves (Levine 1995; Barringer 2004).