Coastal Strand

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Coastal Strand is a plant community of flowering plants that form along the shore in loose sand just above the high tide line, on the West Coast of the United States.

Many plants that grow in this area are endemic to the strand. The community has low species diversity because so few plants can tolerate the harsh conditions of high winds, battering salt spray, and extreme high temperatures in the summer. Plants must also be adapted to sandy saline soils, with extremely low nutrient loads, and low water holding capacity.

Plants that grow along the coast are very tolerant of the winds and salt and sand loaded ocean spray. Many species are succulent, storing salty water in their leaves. The leaves are often light colored or grey-green to reflect sunlight and reduce desiccation. Hairy leaves may reduce evapotranspiration, may help gather moisture from the air, and may reflect a small portion of incoming solar radiation thereby reducing the plants internal temperature. They are often very low in height with prostrate stems and spread by rooting at the nodes and may have deep tap roots, both rooting systems helping to anchor the shifting sands as the plants colonize the beach above high tide.

Pacific Coastal strand plants[edit]

Note that common names in parentheses are common names for the genus, not the specific species.

References[edit]

  • Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Online Interchange for California Floristics (The Jepson Herbarium, University of California Berkeley), http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/interchange.html, 2006.
  • Introduction to California Plant Life, Revised Edition, by Robert Ornduff, Phyllis Faber, Todd Keeler-Wolf, ISBN 0-520-23704-8, 2003.
  • A Natural History of California, Allan A. Schoenherr, ISBN 0-520-06922-6, 1995.
  • The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California by James C Hickman, ISBN 0-520-08255-9, 1993.