Forty-one miles of California coastline, with exposures ranging from sandy beaches to rocky tidepools and lagoons, lie within park boundary. Much of this community had been changed by development or converted to encompass recreational uses in coastal areas.
Characterized by strong winds, salt spray, fog, intense solar radiation, drought conditions and an infertile unstable substrate (sand), this community extends from the high tide zone inward in a narrow band. Many of the plants in this community have adapted to shifting sands, with stems that lay prostrate over the sand, or leaves that curve downward and lay flat along the sand. Some leaves have sticky or hairy surfaces, which gather sand grains to act as ballast, holding them down during high winds. Many of these plants reproduce and spread by rhizomes. Salt spray, slow nutrient cycling and desiccating winds contribute to a desert-like environment.
This plant community occurs along the southwest edge of the mountains, east of Point Mugu. Characteristic plants include san verbena (Abronia maritima), silver beachweed (Ambrosia chamissonis), saltbush (Atriplex sp.), beach morning glory (Calystegia soldanella) and the non-native iceplant or hottentot fig (Mesembryanthemum sp.).
Did You Know?
Every year Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area plants around 15,000 native shrubs in efforts to restore the chaparral landscape and increase the carbon sequestration of the Park. More...