National Records of Scotland

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Sea Pink (Thrift)

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Sea Pink (Thrift)

Armeria maritima (Bees Ruby), family Plumbaginaceae
May to June

Thrift is native to the coastal regions of Britain and northern Europe. Prior to 1700 the roots were sliced, boiled in milk and used to treat tuberculosis in Orkney; elsewhere it was used for obesity. More recently it appeared on the Old English threepence pre-decimal coin.

Threepence piece, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Threepence piece, 1943
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Sea pinks, or 'thrift' are the origin of the word 'thrifty' because of their appearance on threepence coins. As people collected the coins and saved them to spend, they were said to be 'thrifty'.

It is the plant badge of the Clan Hunter which dates back to the 11th century. The clan seat has been held at Hunterston Castle for over eight hundred years. Throughout that time various members of the clan have played a prominent part in the public and military life of the nation and the commonwealth.

Having always had extensive farmlands they have long been closely associated with the environment. In recent years they have campaigned against inappropriate development and industrialisation.

Sea Pink. Image credit: Philip Bouchard, Flickr. CC license
Sea Pink. Image credit: scyrene, Flickr. CC license