Plants of the World Online (Kew) accepts 99 species of Thrift or Sea Thrift.
In Plumbaginaceae, the Leadwort family are mostly from the Mediterranean area.

The perennial herbs or subshrubs have a woody taproot.
Most form small low dense slow growing mounds of grass-like leaves.
The linear to lance-shaped leaves form a basal rosette.
They have no petiole but the base may narrow in some species.

Inflorescences are on a stalk (peduncle) that arises from the basal rosette.
The slender scape has no leaves and can be smooth to densely hairy.
It holds the single globular or hemispheric flower-head well above the leaves.
There are involucral bracts at the base of the flower-head.
The bracts may be green, thin and membranous or coloured.
Flowers may or may not be on a pedicel.

The funnel-shaped calyx tube has 5 lobes and 10 thickened ribs.
There are almost always hairs on the ribs or the whole tube.
The tips of the lobes may have a bristle-like extension.
The tissue between the lobes may become membranous after fertilisation.

The 5 clawed petals are fused just at the base.
They can be shades of pink, red, mauve, purple, lilac and magenta as well as white.
The veins in the overlapping lobes are a darker colour.

The 5 stamen filaments are fused to the base of the petals.
The dorsifixed anthers do not extend past the corolla.

The ovary, of 5 fused carpels has one locule.
The 5 free styles have a linear stigma with or without papillae.
There are hairs on the base of the styles.

Fruit from species with separate carpels are an achene and from fused carpels a capsule that splits around the middle.
In some species the membranous tissue between the calyx lobes act as wings.