Family: Nyctaginaceae (Four o'clock family) [E-flora] Index

Abronia Sp. - Sand-Verbena

Family: Nyctaginaceae (Four o'clock family) [E-flora]

"Annual, perennial herb, generally glandular.
Stem: prostrate to ascending, generally ± red.
Leaf: generally fleshy, petioled.
Inflorescence: head or umbel; flowers maturing outer before inner or ± simultaneously; receptacle conic, ± smooth; bracts 5–10.
Flower: perianth salverform to trumpet-shaped, generally fragrant, lobes 4–5; stamens 4–5, included; stigma linear, included.
Fruit: body fusiform; wings (0)2–5, lobe-like, prominent, opaque, thick, not continuous above fruit body." [Jepson]

"25 species: western North America. (Greek: graceful) [Galloway 2003 FNANM 4:61–69] Closely related to Tripterocalyx; relationships among species Abronia gracilis Benth. (Mexico), Abronia maritima, Abronia umbellata, and Abronia villosa need study; hybrids involve Abronia latifolia, Abronia maritima, Abronia umbellata; Abronia gracilis included in TJM ---(1993) based on misidentifications.
Vegetatively, Abronia umbellata var. breviflora could be confused with Abronia latifolia (yellow sand-verbena). Abronia latifolia has yellow flowers, broader ovate to reniform leaves, and achenes with wings narrower than the body of the achene. It has habitat requirements similar to those of A. umbellata var. breviflora; the two species can grow intermixed. Abronia latifolia is also known from the outer beaches of Vancouver Island." [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Abronia latifolia - Yellow sand-verbena [E-flora]
  2. Abronia umbellata - Pink sand-verbena Red-Listed [E-flora]

Abronia latifolia - Yellow Sand-Verbena

Other Names: Coastal sand verbena [E-flora]

This is a blue-listed taxon in B.C. [E-flora]

"Abronia latifolia is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in). It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in flower from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
Suitable for: light (sandy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure."[PFAF]

Status: Native. [E-flora]

Habitat / Range

"Moist coastal beaches and sand dunes in the lowland zone; infrequent on the Queen Charlotte Islands, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands; S to CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Coastal sand dunes and sea beaches[60]. Sandy soils, coastal scrub, lees of dunes adjacent to strand from sea level to 50 metres[270].South-western N. America - California to Vancouver Island." [PFAF]

Edible Uses

Root: "The large sugary roots were eaten by both the Klallam and Makah of Washington (Gunther, 1945). Paul (1968) referred to a "wild potato" growing on beaches commonly eaten by the Saanich. This may have been Abronia." [Tuner&Bell1] Root Edible [EMNMPV.11][EWP]

Nuts: Edible????[Personal Note] Nuts contain 90g of water, 1.8g of ash and 1.1g of protein per 100g fresh weight. [Turner, Kuhnlein]

Cultivation & Propagation

"Prefers a light well-drained sandy soil in full sun[200]. This species is not very hardy in Britain, though it should succeed outdoors in the southern part of the country, especially if given a warm sheltered site[200]. Seed is rarely ripened on plants growing in Britain[1]."[PFAF]

"Seed - sow autumn or early spring very shallowly in pots of sandy soil in a greenhouse[133]. Germination can be very slow unless you peel off the outer skin and pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water[200, 245]. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 2 months at 15°c[133]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Seedlings are prone to damp off and so should be kept well-ventilated[200]. Plant out in late spring, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings in spring, rooted in sand[200]." [PFAF]



Abronia umbellata - Pink sand-verbena

"Pink sand verbena is an annual (sometimes perennial) species of maritime beach habitats, including disturbed sandy areas, coastal scrub, and lees of sand dunes (Spellenberg 2004). It is endemic to the central Pacific Coast of North America where it is found within the driftwood zone. Only one population of the species is known in Canada, from Pacific Rim National Park in British Columbia, although plants have not been seen in several years (Fairbarns et al. 2007). Recovery efforts are underway to reintroduce it within its historical range (Fairbarns et al. 2007). This is a prostrate species with a deep tap-root and trailing stems (Hickman 1993; Spellenberg 2004). Flowering occurs year-round." [E-flora]

Notes: "This regional endemic was considered extinct in BC and WA until recently (Douglas et al. 1998a, Washington Natural Heritage Program 1994). Two plants of this species were rediscovered in 2000 and subsequently destroyed by a winter storm that year (Douglas 2001). In May 2001 three plants reappeared at the same site." [E-flora]

Habitat/Range: "Coastal sandy beaches below the driftwood zone in the lowland zone; rare on the W coast of Vancouver Island, known only from Ahousat and Pachena Bay (in 1915 and 1927, respectively) and more recently from Clo-oose Beach, Pacific Rim National Park; S to WA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Native [E-flora]


Uses of Abronia Sp.

Abronia fragrans - Snowball Sand Verbena

Edible Roots

Medicinal Uses

Abronia turbinate - Transmontane Sand Verbena

Abronia villosa - Desert Sand Verbena


Page last modified on Friday, June 24, 2022 6:44 PM