Limonium carolinianum is a perennial herb from a thick root stock, and horizontal rhizomes (Flora of North America 1993+; but see USDA, NRCS 2006), plant 20- 70 cm tall (usually less), widely, densely branching, rather flat-topped.
Leaves alternate, all basal, stalk 3-15 cm long, blade 4-17 cm long, 1-4 cm wide, elliptic to lance-shaped, surface leathery, tip rounded, tapered to base, deciduous soon after flowering.
Flowers blue-lavender, radially symmetrical (regular), tubular, corolla 5-lobed, about 0.5 cm long, calyx white, papery, 0.4-0.7 cm long, base surrounded by small bracts, small; inflorescence widely branched, of one-sided clusters of 2-3 flowers along branches (Flora of North America 1993+; Radford et al. 1968); blooms July-Sept.
Fruit blue (USDA, NRCS 2006), becoming dry, inflated, 1-seeded, seed spindle-shaped to 0.3-0.5 cm long.
Wetland status: OBL.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent.
Habitat: High salt marshes and along bay shores, often with Spartina patens. Soil pH 6-8.5 (USDA, NRCS 2006).
Notes: Winter plant gray-brown (Levine 1995). Seedling establishment apparently rare, plants spread more often by rhizome fragments (Flora of North America 1993+). USDA, NRCS (2006) notes no vegetative spread.