Common Name
Scientific Name
Typical Distribution
In the Sandhills
coast Dudleya
Dudleya palmeri (Crassulaceae)
coastal strand communities including sea cliffs in central California
coat dudley inflorescence
coast dudley rosette of leaves
California sea-pink
Armeria maritima ssp. californica (Plumbaginaceae)
coastal strand communities including Northern Coastal Scrub
California sea-pine inflorescence California sea-pine inflorescences
beach sagewort
Artemesia pycnocephala (Asteraceae)
coastal strand communities including stabilized dunes
beach sagewort inflorescence beach sagewort plant
mock heather
Ericameria ericoides (Asteraceae)
coastal strand communities including stabilized dunes
pussy paws
Calyptridium umbellatum (Portulacaceae)
Coniferous forests in the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountains, typically above 3,000 feet in elevation
pussy paws inflorescence pussy paws plants
ponderosa pine
Pinus ponderosa (Pinaceae)
Coniferous forests in the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountains, typically above 3,000 feet in elevation
Sandhills ponderosa pine Sandhills ponderosa pines
Disjunct Plant Populations Within the Santa Cruz Sandhills

The Santa Cruz Sandhills contain populations of several plant species which are located far from the species primary distribution. Several plant species in the Sandhills are more commonly found in the coastal beach and strand communities, which are 7-10 miles or more from Sandhills habitat. There is no doubt that their adaptations to sandy soil allow these species to inhabit the Sandhills.

But what about the Sandhills populations of plants primarily found within the inland mountains of California, including the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges? Ponderosa pine and pussy paws are typically found well-inland and at elevations exceeding 3,000 feet, whereas Sandhills populations occur at elevations between 300 and 1500 feet within just a few miles of the ocean.

Unique morphological characteristics of disjunct Sandhills populations suggest that some may be on separate evolutionary trajectories due to the unique environmental conditions of the Sandhills and their geographic isolation from other populations. Over long time periods, these disjunct populations may become new species endemic to the Sandhills.

Sandhills Alliance for Natural Diversity (S.A.N.D.)
PO Box 2363 Boulder Creek, CA 95006 ● e-mail:
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