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Spray Zone & Upper Beach

In a narrow zone overlapping the base of the seaward slopes and the top of the beach, the impact of salt spray from breaking waves is a perpetual environmental factor to be tolerated, rather than an occasional one, as on the slopes above. The salt-tolerant native species that characterize this zone include Dune Wild Rye (Elymus mollis), Thrift (Armeria maritime), Shore Orach (Atriplex patula), Sea Rocket (Cakile edentula), Beach Pea (Lathyrus japonicus), and the rare little Coastline Bluegrass (Poa confines).

The Rabbitfoot Beardgrass (Polypogon monspeliensis) is an invader from Europe. Gumweed (Grindelia integrifolia) is a conspicuous native perennial that occurs in both this and the preceding community. Its little flowering parasite, the California Broomrape (Orobanche californica), formerly more common, is not now known on the Beacon Hill foreshore. This zone is heavily used by people walking along the seashore, and, being very narrow, is suffering accordingly.

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