East Beach ~ Barrier Beach

Physical Characteristics

How does plant life vary in the different parts of the dune?

The vegetation is not as thick on the foredune as it is on the leeward side of the primary dune and the secondary dunes. The plants that grow on the foredunes are exposed to wind, salt spray, and temperature extremes. The plants that live on the foredune have to be tough to survive. These hardy plants have thick or hairy leaves to help them withstand the harsh conditions. Beach grass, seaside goldenrod, and beach peas all grow on the foredune.

In the lee of the dunes and on the secondary dunes, plant growth is much thicker. You can hardly see the sand the vegetation is so thick. Beach grass is the dominant species on our New England sand dunes. Succulents, such as milkwort, are also found in this area. Poison ivy and beach roses grow in the secondary dune area.