Amid the tidal flats at South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve north of Bandon OR is a interesting low bank that illustrates plants with different levels of tolerance to salinity, salt spray and submergence. On this bank are four distinct horizontal bands of plants. At each level a single species predominates. I already introduced pickleweed (“Pickleweed” on 09-08-14), which occupies the lowest “band”.
Marsh jaumea (Jaumea carnosa) occupies the niche immediately above pickleweed on this slope. A native perennial, marsh jaumea ranges from British Columbia to Baja CA and is found in salt marshes and tidal flats.
Spread by rhizomes, marsh jaumea has slightly pinkish stems that are nearly prostrate. The opposite, glabrous (smooth without hairs) leaves are fleshy, linear and blueish green. A member of the sunflower family, the yellow marsh jaumea flowers contain both ray and disc flowers surrounded by bracts. The bracts become pink to purplish near their tips. Each solitary flower head contains 6 to 10 ray flowers. Fruits are achenes (single dry seeds) with bristles at the crown. Marsh jaumea strongly resembles the ice plant.
Also called fleshy jaumea, this halophytic (salt tolerating) wildflower was cooked and eaten as a vegetable by native tribes. The tea resulting from boiling marsh jaumea was used to treat fevers.
I tried to obtain a single photograph of all of the plants on the bank to illustrate the segregated bands. Unfortunately such a picture only looks like a green hillside. Thus pictures of each individual level will have to suffice.