Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Seacoast Marsh-elder - Iva imbricata   Walter
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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DistributionStrictly coastal, and known from essentially all coastal counties in the state. Unlike Iva frutescens, which is coastal but occurs in marshes and thus does occur in counties away from the immediate coast, this species occurs in dunes and thus all records are from counties bordering the Atlantic.

This is a Southern coastal species occurring north only to southern VA, and then around the Atlantic and Gulf coasts to LA.
AbundanceCommon and usually easily found in most areas of coastal dunes.
HabitatIt strictly occurs in deep sands of beach dunes, upper beaches, and sand flats at the ends of islands. As Weakley (2018) points out, it is often the perennial species that grows closest to the ocean.
See also Habitat Account for Ocean Beaches and Sand Flats
PhenologyBlooms and fruits from late August to November.
IdentificationThis is a tardily deciduous, usually decumbent shrub that grows barely to 1-2’ feet tall, often with longer branches that sprawl on or close to the ground. The leaves are quite succulent and thick, being elliptical and entire-looking, to about 2” long. As it is one of the very few woody plants growing on dunes, the thick and fleshy elliptical leaves should be enough for identification, but the long “spike-like” inflorescence of small flowers and fruits on an erect, terminal branch are noticeable in late summer and fall.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Dune Marsh-elder. This name is about as frequently used as Seacoast Marsh-elder and is a better one in terms of providing a more useful habitat connotation.
State RankS3 [S4]
Global RankG5?
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