Devil’s potato (Echites umbellatus), a.k.a rubbervine, is an uncommon plant of the coastal strand in Indian River River County and is shown above at Treasure Shores Park on a 6/3/2017 field trip surrounded by the leaves of beach dune sunflower (Helianthus debilis). Coastal strand is the community of flowering plants that grow just above the high tide line at the beach. These plants tend to be succulent and very sturdy.
Sea rocket (Cakile lanceolata), shown above, is another uncommon plant that we encountered. Notice its thick succulent leaves and the rock-shaped seed pods that split open to catapult its tiny seeds.
Another succulent plant, beach elder (Iva imbricata), shown above, also was flourishing.
Shoreline purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum), yet another thick-stemmed succulent, often grows in front of the dune and is found on the mosquito control dikes at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area. Both beach elder and shoreline purslane readily root at the nodes, an adaptation that allows them to help to stabilize the shifting sands of the beach dunes and to colonize elsewhere when small stems are transported by the sea or the waters of the Indian River Lagoon.
The short path to the (unguarded) beach is now lined with beach dune sunflower, and the dastardly beach naupaka (Scaevola taccada) is dead, having been treated with herbicide by a professional invasive plant control team thanks to Beth Powell, the Indian River County Conservation Lands Manager. The Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) is suffering a similar fate. Both of these plants have been designated to be category #1 invasive pest plants by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC), since they disrupt and devastate native plant communities.
Please do not confuse wedelia (Spagneticola trilobata), a FLEPPC category #2 invasive pest plant with beach dune sunflower …
This plant is growing in both the coastal strand and maritime hammock at Treasure Shores Park and grows along Oslo Road at the ORCA. Like beach elder and shoreline purslane, it roots at the nodes and is easily spread by tiny pieces. Its center (disc) is yellow; The center of the beach dune sunflowers is brown.
Enjoy Treasure Shores Park for its many amenities (restrooms with showers, shaded picnic tables & playground), as well as its natural treasures. Trich Kruza (Class of 2015), shown below, enjoys the beach under the grey clouds on 6/3/2017.