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Agalinis maritima (Raf.) Raf.

Photo: Saltmarsh False-foxglove in flower with saltmarsh in background

Saltmarsh False-foxglove

Habitat: Saltmarshes. [Tidal wetland (non-forested, wetland)]

Range: Confined to saltmarshes of the Atlantic coast from Maine southward to Florida.

Aids to Identification: Like its more common relative purple gerardia (A. paupercula), the plant has five-petaled, bell-shaped flowers borne erect at the tips of the branched stems. Saltmarsh false-foxglove may be distinguished by its distinct preference for saltmarshes and by its leaves, which are thick and succulent, linear in shape and about 2-3 cm long. As it grows less than 40 cm high, it is often almost concealed by the surrounding vegetation.

Photo: Saltmarsh False-foxglove in saltmarsh habitat

Ecological characteristics: Can occur in large populations in intact saltmarshes. Maine populations are represented by A. maritima var. maritima.

Phenology: Flowers in late summer.

Family: Orobanchaceae

Synonyms: Formerly known as Gerardia maritima Raf.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 15 towns in the following counties: Cumberland, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Washington, York.

Photo: Saltmarsh False-foxglove in fruit

Dates of documented observations are: 1916, 1960, 1966, 1981, 1982 (6), 1985, 1986, 1990 (4), 1992, 1996 (3), 1998 (2), 1999, 2000 (10), 2001 (5)

Reason(s) for rarity: Reaches its northern range limit in southern Maine.

Conservation considerations: This plant persists well as long as the natural hydrology of its saltmarsh habitat is maintained.

Photo: Saltmarsh False-foxglove in flower