In the 2012 President's Budget Request, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) is terminated. As a result, all resources, databases, tools, and applications within this web site will be removed on January 15, 2012. For more information, please refer to the NBII Program Termination page.
Sand dune plants compose a unique habitat that is rapidly being lost due to rising sea-levels and overdevelopment. The loss of this habitat in locations such as Galveston Island, Texas, is detrimental to both the natural environment (the rare Sea Oats and the endangered Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle) and the human environment (sand dune habitats protect houses and infrastructure from storm surges). A spatially-explicit understanding of sand dune plants, both their characteristics and their responses to sea-level rise, climate change, and development pressures, is key to preserving the habitat for generations to come.
The information and images presented here are from Feagin et al. 5 year study at Pirates Beach located on Galveston Island Texas.
The site had four possible states, consisting of bareground (0), colonizer plants (1), soil binder plants (2), or competitive plants (3). Because sand dune succession is based on facilitation by adjacent plants, as well as the amelioration of environmental constraints by previous successional stages, each state represented one step in the successional sequence. For example, the site could start as bareground and move through the three subsequent successional stages if an adequate number of other plants were growing in adjacent locations. The relative effect of a site upon an adjacent site, through facilitation, was based on proximity, as detailed in Feagin et al. (2005) and Feagin et al. (2007).
Camphor Daisy Species Spotlight
Photo courtesy of Greg Wieland
Camphor daisy Rayjacksonia phyllocephala
Description:Aromatic herb covered with a sticky sap (camphor smell when leaves are crushed). Elongate succulent leaves with oval end, usually 5-8 teeth at base of leaves. Many showy yellow flowers on entire plant.
Habitat:Leeward slopes of dunes, sandy areas behind dunes, vegetation-stabilized sands and flats. Often colonizes far out on beach when sand is accumulating
Distribution:Texas and Louisiana coast
Status:Annual plant that colonizes loose sand but not usually managed
Description:Creeping vine with leathery, broad leaves notched at apex rooting at nodes and not twinning. Flowers are showy, rose or purple colored, tubular bell shaped on the stems which lie directly on the sand and can extend out 90 ft in length. Roots emerge at numerous nodes along the stem and anchor the plant to the substratum. Survival from burial depends on length of stem that leaves exposed leaves.
Habitat:Back beach near dunes, windward and leeward slopes of dunes
Distribution:Coast of Gulf of Mexico
Status:Excellent soil binder for dunes. Vehicle traffic needs to be kept off these plants. Also of ornamental value
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