Coastal Strand

The sandy beaches and sand dunes of the coastal strand plant community encounter the edge of the sea. This arrangement creates a harsh environment for plant growth and survival because of persistent winds laden with salt and sand. The forever shifting sands with their poor water-holding ability and low fertility also stress plants. The few species adapted to this region are usually prostrate and have creeping stems which can root at their nodes. These features aid in anchoring the plant with its continuous lateral growth into large colonies. Some plant species contain deep tap roots, which serve the dual purpose of anchoring the plant to the soil and in acquiring water.

The presence of pubescent or fuzzy leaves on some species serves as a surface for water condensation, which nourishes the plant and reduces water loss by lowering the effects of evaporation. Water is also stored in the succulent leaves and stems of some plants.

The major species in this plant community are Sand Verbena (Abronia umbellata); Beach Primrose (Camissonia cheiranthifolia); and Sea Rocket (Cakile maritima).

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