Another new word for me:
A psammophyte is a coastal dune plant or a plant that thrives in or requires sand to grow. The word derives from “psammos”, a Greek combining word meaning sand and “phyte”, a Latin combining word indicating a specific type or habitat.
Plants growing along the coastal dunes or strand, psammophytes, face many challenges including:
*changing water levels,
*salty water and soil,
*loose anchorage in the sandy soil,
*few nutrients, and
*desiccation from bright sunlight and wind.
Psammophytes are adapted to this harsh environment in part through:
*thick, succulent herbage that protects against wind, salt spray and moisture loss,
*physiological adaptations to remove salts,
*sturdy deep tap roots that help maintain location in shifting sand,
*low, spreading growth pattern to prevent wind damage,
*morphological structures such as hairs to help prevent desiccation,
*roots at nodes to further anchor the plant, and
*lighter green or greyish leaves to reflect some sunlight thus preventing excessive desiccation.
These four psammophytes, beach silvertop (Glehnia littotalis), beach evening primrose (Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia), beach strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) and beach morning glory (Calystegia soldanella) were all photographed in May on Dry Lagoon Beach in Humboldt Lagoon State Park CA. All four plants were discussed in previous posts.