• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

Coastal Scrub

various shrubs in the coastal scrub habitat
 

One of the most common plant communities at the Seashore, coastal scrub stretches over much of the gentle hills above the ocean. These plants tolerate abrasive conditions—high winds, little rain, blowing salt spray and poor soils—but still they persist. They make do with the resources they have, keeping short and shrubby, putting extra support into stiff leaves, and growing a long taproot for stability and to reach deep water. Vast tracts of coyote bush indicate that you are in the coastal scrub. The scrub is made up of other shrubs like yellow bush lupine, poison oak, and blackberry and lone stunted conifers. In the southern parts of the park, California sagebrush and California buckwheat replace coytote bush. Springtime finds this community alive with color. A common flower is the sticky monkey-flower, whose flower is orange and resembles a monkey’s face. Bright red Indian paintbrush steals nutrients and water from other plants’ roots. California poppies and Douglas irises also grow in the coastal scrub.

Learn more about the Fire Ecology of Coastal Scrub.

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Did You Know?

Fog-filled valley with yellow twilight glow over a ridge in the background. © John B. Weller.

The rich, lush environment of Point Reyes heavily depends on the fog. During rainless summers, fog can account for 1/3 of the ecosystem's water input. But recent studies have indicated that there has been about a 30 percent reduction in fog during the last 100 years here in coastal California. More...