California Coastal Strand
high moisture, summer-fall salt levels high, 15-35 inches
Clams, Plovers, Sandpipers, Sea Gulls, Surfers
Verbena (Abronia spp.), Sand Bur (Ambrosia chamissonis),
Saltbushes (Atriplex spp.), Rye Grass (Elymus mollis),
Lupines (Lupinus arboreus and L. chamissonis),
Heather (Ericameria ericoides), Coastal
Sagewort (Artemisia pycnocephala)
Soil and climate notes:
This plant community has high sodium sand, high
sodium silt, wind w/salt spray.
The Coastal Strand plant community hugs the immediate coast of
California. If you can feel the salt spray, you are probably in the
Coastal Strand plant community.
California sand dunes contain many unique plants
If you can feel the sea breeze but never experience wet salt
spray (feels and tastes like a salt water spray) you're probably in the
Sage Scrub plant community. These two communities are adjacent to
each other in many areas, but it is usually hard to tell where one
leaves off and the other starts. Wind- exposed areas can have many
Coastal Strand plants, while wind- protected areas can have many Coastal Sage
Many coastal bluffs are covered with Coastal Strand plants
because of salt spray; some are a hundred or more feet above the tide.
We've seen knolls a mile or two back from the breakers that were
partially covered with either Coastal Prairie
or Coastal Strand plants.
If there is enough winter rain to mitigate the salt and the
soil is more like clay, not sand, you can have a Coastal Prairie
instead of a Coastal Strand plant community.
Some generalizations that may help
describe the different
Direct salt spray, almost always in sand dunes or
salt spray along immediate coast, and/or shallow or possibly
serpentine soils, but seasonally wet, due to heavier soil, =Coastal
little salt spray and shrubs =Coastal Sage Scrub
The Coastal Strand plant community has been invaded in many
parts of the state with nasty plants like Pampas grass (Cortaderia
selloana), Iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis) or European Beach Grass
list of California native plants that grow in the Coastal Strand plant