Natural Communities of NH -- Photo Guide

Hudsonia maritime shrubland  (S1)



Hudsonia maritime shrublands
occur in interdunal areas where sand movement from wind and waves, although still quite significant, is more limited than in beach grass grassland dominated foredunes. The xeric sand (to gravelly-sand) substrate is wind and water deposited and supports essentially no soil development. These interdunes are occasionally overwashed when portions of foredunes are blown out during severe storms, and waterborne sand is deposited at these times. 

Characteristic vegetation: Hairy hudsonia (Hudsonia tomentosa) is the dominant species. It is adapted to withstand a certain degree of sand burial and can form dense stands in more stabilized areas. In other areas, patches of sparsely vegetated or unvegetated sand can occur. Because of its sand binding ability, hairy hudsonia is considered a keystone species in this community, by allowing other plant species to become established.

Occasional associates of the dominant hairy hudsonia include beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata), tall wormwood (Artemisia campestris ssp. caudata), sea-beach sedge (Carex silicea), Gray's umbrella sedge (Cyperus grayi), red fescue (Festuca rubra), beach pea (Lathyrus japonicus), seabeach pinweed (Lechea maritima), jointweed (Polygonella articulata), seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), earthstar fungus (Astraeus hygrometricus), and several lichen species. Less frequent associates are sea-beach needle grass (Aristida tuberculosa), dusty miller (Artemisia stelleriana), drooping brome grass (Bromus tectorum), perennial umbrella sedge (Cyperus lupulinus), biennial evening primrose (Oenothera biennis), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), sand dropseed (Sporobolus cryptandrus), and few others. Collectively, these herbaceous associates have a sparse cover (<5%).


Only one known good example of this community occurs in New Hampshire, between a foredune and beach cottages on the remnant back portion of an interdune at Seabrook Beach. It may also exist in smaller patches elsewhere, but mostly as inclusions within beach grass grassland community. Historically, it likely was common in the state (as it is today on nearby Plum Island’s intact dune system in MA) within the once extensive coastal sand dune system that stretched along the coast from the state line in Seabrook through Hampton Beach.


Hudsonia maritime shrubland occurs as part of a larger coastal sand dune system.


Hudsonia maritime shrubland community at Seabrook Beach (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
Hudsonia maritime shrubland community at Seabrook Beach (photo by Ben Kimball)

Hudsonia maritime shrubland community at Seabrook Beach (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
Hudsonia maritime shrubland community at Seabrook Beach (photo by Ben Kimball)

Small example of a hudsonia maritime shrubland community (foreground) at The Sands (photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
Small example of a hudsonia maritime shrubland community (foreground) at The Sands in Seabrook.
(photo by Ben Kimball for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

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