What Plants Live in the California Coastal Region?

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A diversity of plants thrives in the California coastal region, including pampasgrass, chaparral plant, sagebrush scrub, lobed sea rocket and sand strawberry. These plants grow near the ocean but thrive in areas where the spray of the saltwater cannot reach them. The plants are adapted to living in salty water and sandy soils, and many plant communities exist in dynamic conditions.

The native beach plants in the coastal area in Southern California thrive by creating a sand dune formation. The coastal strand plant species, such as the yellow-eyed grass, California poppy plant, sand strawberry, camphor dune tansy and the yellow sand verbena, trap sands blown in the wind and form small mounds made of sands. These hummocks of sand grow with the plants over time and protect the plants by trapping the sands above the waves and serving as buffers during storms.

More than 80 species of wildflowers grow along the coastal area of California, including the common evening primrose, San Francisco spineflower, Chilean clover, five-fingered fern, flowering currant and dove’s foot geranium. These flowers are either annual, perennial or biennial flower species and evolved to survive by reproducing strategically in their particular environment.

While most beach plants are native to California, the coastal region of the southern and central region of the state is dominated by plant species from different countries. The most notable of these are the tree of heaven plant from China, the Bermuda grass from Africa and the giant reed from Europe.