Coastal Dune

Sea Fiddleneck
Amsinckia spectabilis
Sea Cliff Daisy
Malacothrix saxatilis
Salt Grass
Distichlis spicata
Beach Saltbush
Atriplex leucophylla
Red Sand Verbena
Abronia maritima
California Poppy
Eschsholzia californica
Beach Sand Verbena
Abronia umbellata
Heliotropium curvassavicium
Globose Beetle
Coelus ciliatus
Beach Morning Glory
Calystegia soldanella
Beach Evening Primrose
Camissonia cheiranthifolia
Beach Bur
ambrosia chamissonis


Coastal sand dunes are scattered along the California coastline from the Oregon border south to San Diego. They are dynamic habitats that are affected by wave action, tides, wind and trampling. Dunes develop where there is a substantial amount of blown, dry sand. Their formation is often aided by pioneer dune species such as beach saltbush (Atriplex leucophylla). Plants found on coastal sand dunes are mostly prostrate herbs with creeping stems and long fleshy taproots. The leaves are usually small, somewhat succulent, and often hairy and grayish in color. These features aid the plants in tolerating drought, salt stress and intense sunlight. The southern California coastal sand dunes support the rare Globose Dune Beetle and the California Legless Lizard. All dunes in California have been greatly reduced by development, off road vehicle use and exotic species invasion.