Thick fleshy leaves; 10-20 stalked flowers arising from one stem. Foliage is densely hairy. 9-27-07. © Joan Avise.

Red Sand Verbena

Abronia maritima

An rare (CNPS-listed) perennial, spreading succulent occurring along the coastal strand and dunes.  It is a halophyte, requiring exposure to salt spray, and cannot tolerate fresh water. The leaves can isolate and store salt.  It can be found in small numbers at Bolsa Chica Wetlands, Crystal Cove State Park, Anaheim Bay, Corona del Mar and San Mateo Point in San Clemente State Park. Numbers are being increased in a restoration project at Bolsa Chica.  The flowers in this group have no petals but showy sepals that resemble petals. 

Comparison between Abronia umbellata and Ambronia maritima

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Five stamens with bright yellow anthers. 3-21-09. © Joan Avise

Sepal-like bracts subtending flower bud. 9-27-07. © Joan Avise

Spherical cluster of fruits with dried sepals attached. 3-21-09. © Joan Avise

9-27-07. © Joan Avise

Mass up to 4 ft. diameter 3-21-09. © Joan Avise

Trailing sand-dune succulent 3-21-09. © Joan Avise