Plants maritime, glabrous; rhizomes spreading. Stems simple or branched, 5-25(-50) cm. Leaf blades usually long-elliptic to ovate, sometimes lanceolate to oblanceolate, obovate, or broadly elliptic, 4-46 × 0.5-20 mm, succulent, margins often crenulate, apex acute to acuminate or apiculate. Pedicels 2-10(-26) mm. Flowers strongly honey-scented; sepals ovate, 3.5-7 mm; petals spatulate to narrowly oblanceolate, abruptly constricted toward base, 2.5-6 mm in staminate flowers, 0.8-2 mm in pistillate flowers; filaments 2.5-5 mm in staminate flowers; anthers 0.5-0.7 mm, 0.5-0.8 mm in pistillate flowers. Capsules ovoid to subglobose, 5-10 × (4.5-)5-12 mm, fleshy or chartaceous. Seeds 2-4 mm, rugulose. 2n = 66, 68, 70. Honckenya peploides is polymorphic. A number of species and infraspecific taxa have been described from various parts of its geographical range. Recently, four subspecies of H. peploides have been recognized (A. Kurtto 2001b; V. V. Petrovsky 1971, 2000), as here; subsp. peploides occurs along European coasts. Honckenya is subdioecious (Petrovsky 1971, 2000; T. Tsukui and T. Sugawara 1992), and is pollinated largely by small bees, hover-flies, flies, and ants (Tsukui and Sugawara). The report of Honckenya (as Ammodenia) in Chile is an error based on G. Macloskie (1903-1914, vol. 1) (C. Marticorena, pers. comm.).
Colonial by rhizomes and runners, forming dense colonies often 1-2 m wide; stems 1-5 dm, simple to much-branched; lvs 1-2 cm, elliptic or elliptic-ovate to obovate or sometimes lanceolate or oblanceolate; sep ovate or lance-ovate, 3-7 mm; pet in male fls ca equaling the sep, in female fls rarely over 2 mm; stamens in male fls about equaling the pet, in female fls reduced or abortive; fr depressed, 4-8 mm long, 5-12 mm thick; seeds 3-5 mm, reddish-brown; 2n=48-70. Sea-beaches and sand-dunes; circumboreal, s. on the Atlantic coast to Va. June-July. Our plants are var. robusta (Fernald) House, with little-branched, few-fld stems 2-5 dm, the sep 4-5 mm. (Arenaria p.)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.