'Joystick' Sea Thrift
Origin: Northern Hemisphere
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~25
Germination tested 10/2021: 93%
Life cycle: Perennial
Nate first encountered this plant growing wild along the south coast of Iceland. At first glance the blooming flowers resembled something in the Allium (onion-garlic) genus, but on closer inspection it became obvious that they are much more fine and lacy, and the leaves from which they emerge are unlike any Allium. Thin, green, inconspicuous clusters of leaves hug the ground, emerging from cracks in rocks. Without the burst of pink from the flowers, you might not notice this plant at all, but apparently when planted in large quantities it makes an excellent ground-cover. And though it's a bit small and fiddly to work with, both the leaves and roots are edible. We haven't tried the roots, but apparently they are quite choice, and perhaps with some concerted breeding work it could be bred into a more viable perennial root crop.
While we hope to one day offer seeds from the wild population Nate collected from in Iceland, this is the pink-flowering cultivar from the "Joystick Series", which includes red, white, and lilac-colored versions. Our seed comes from Wild Garden Seeds in Philomath, Oregon, who describe it like this: "Looks much like the native sea thrift, bright pink flowering stems standing 12-15" above the evergreen tufted mounds of leaves. Tolerates any soil in a full sun location, useful for cuts, borders, rock gardens and walls, and other dry situations."