Upper Beach

.....The Upper Beach is the area of the beach face between the intertidal beach and the primary dune. This is usually a dry,sandy area, but can be affected by storms or extremely high tides. Strong winds and salt spray make this part of the beach very inhospitable to most flora. Line of wrack, dead marsh grass stalks and other debris often collect on the upper beach. This wrack, stores moisture and offers a sheltered environment for seeds to germinate. These areas of debris, held together by small pockets of plant life are the birthplace of new dunes.

Click on a plant image to see a higher resolution image.
All plant illustrations on this page are courtesy of Taylor Schoettle's A Guide to a Georgia Barrier Islands. Click here for ordering and contact info.


Common Name: Beach Croton
Linnaeus Classification: Croton punctatus
Description: gray-green leaves and stem
Flowering Season: spring

Common Name: Orach
Linnaeus Classification: Atriplex arenaria
Description: succulent grey-green leaf, red stem
Flowering Season: summer
Common Name: Sea Rocket
Linnaeus Classification: Cakile edentula
Description: succulent, two-section fruit, dies in summer
Flowering Season: spring
Common Name: Fiddle-Leaf Morning Glory
Linnaeus Classification: Ipomoea stolonifera
Description: succulent leaf, large white flower, ground vine
Flowering Season: late summer-fall
Common Name: Railroad Vine
Linnaeus Classification: Ipomoea pes-caprea
Description: ground vine, large purple flowers
Flowering Season: fall
Common Name: Russian Thistle
Linnaeus Classification: Salsola kali
Description: spiney succulent leaf, small prickley flowers
Flowering Season: summer
Common Name: Sea-Purslane
Linnaeus Classification: Sesuvium portulacastrum
Description: succulent leaves, purple flower
Flowering Season: spring
Common Name: American Beach Grass or Compass Grass
Linnaeus Classification: Ammophila breviligulata
Description: long thin green leaves, not accompanied by stalks of seed plumes
Flowering Season: summer