Native Plant Communities

Coastal Strand

Synonyms: Coastal Scrub
Community Variants: Stabilized Dunes, Coastal Thickets

Coastal strands are densely vegetated areas with either sandy or mixed sand-shell substrates.  They are on active coastlines with beaches, and many are on barrier islands.  They are subject to salt spray and high winds.  They are also subject to rapid reconfiguration and destruction when faced with hurricane winds and waves.

Typical plant communities include dense thickets of xerophytic plants including sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera), prickly-pear cactus (Opuntia stricta), poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), Spanish bayonet (Yucca aloifolia), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), sea myrtle (Baccharis halimifolia), coral bean (Erythrina herbacea), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), and other shrubs. 


Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 1992. Soil and Water Relationships of Florida's Ecological Communities

Duever, L.C. 1986. Florida's Natural Communities: Overwash Plains and Coastal Berms. The Palmetto 6:10-11.

Duever, Linda. 1983 (November). Florida's Natural Communities: Coastal Dunes. The Palmetto 3, #4:4-5.

Duever, Linda. 1985-86 (Winter). Florida's Natural Communities: Coastal Mounds. The Palmetto 5, #4:15.

Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI). 2010. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL.

Gann, G.D., K.A. Bradley, and S.W. Woodmansee. 2009. Floristic Inventory of South Florida Database. Institute for Regional Conservation.

Knight, G. R., J. B. Oetting, and L. Cross.  2011.  Atlas of Florida's Natural Heritage - Biodiversity, Landscapes, Stewardship and Opportunities:  Institute of Science and Public Affairs, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.

Myers, R.L. and J.J. Ewel (eds.). 1990. Ecosystems of Florida University of Central Florida Press: Orlando.

USDA Soil Conservation Service. 198?. 26 Ecological Communities of Florida.

Whitney, E.N., D. B. Means, A. Rudloe. 2004. Priceless Florida: Natural Ecosystems and Native Species. Pineapple Press.

Date Updated 2020-05-18 11:53:46


Stabilized dunes in Cayo Costa State Park.  Photo by Shirley Denton.

Coastal Grassland near Mexico Beach in the Florida Panhandle.


Coastal strand in the Canaveral National Seashore near Titusville by Shirley Denton.