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Polycarpaea nivea – Common White Saladillo


Scientific Name

Polycarpaea nivea (Aiton) Webb

Common Names

Common White Saladillo


Achyranthes nivea (basionym), Hagaea gnaphalodes, Illecebrum gnaphalodes, Lahaya gnaphalioides, Mollia gnaphalodes, Polycarpaea gnaphalodes, Polycarpaea microphylla

Scientific Classification

Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Polycarpaea


Polycarpaea nivea is a woody, dense, cushion forming, subshrub. The leaves are small, strongly succulent, silvery or more rarely brownish tomentose with acute to rounded apices. The specific name "nivea" comes from the Latin that means white like the snow, alluding to the color of the plant.

Polycarpaea nivea - Common White Saladillo

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USDA hardiness zone 8a to 10b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).

How to Grow and Care

It is a coastal xerophyte, growing in extremely arid to arid areas of several islands, typically on more or less compacted sand dunes close to the sea but also in coastal cliffs and stony coastal plains. It is also found in sub-humid to humid mountain areas. In the Canary Islands it forms psammophyte communities with Convolvulus caput-medusae and Heliotropium bacciferum ssp. erosumZygophyllum fontanesii and Euphorbia paralias.

It is a low-growing, grey hairy plant seldom seen in cultivation. It has been used extensively and successfully in the sand-binding experiments on the sand dunes… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Polycarpaea nivea


It is found in dunes and rocks in Mauritania, Morocco, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde.


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