1. Roots form dense mats which trap sand and help retain soil moisture.

2. Rhizomes (underground stems) grow from the base of the plants, outward through the sand as much as 4 metres (12 feet) a year. New roots grow at intervals along the rhizomes.

3. Shoots of new plants grow upwards from the fast-spreading rhizomes.

4. Stems trap sand.

5. Nodes on the stem produce new roots as sand builds up. They replace the old and dying roots below.

6. Leaves are coarse and spiky but can still bend in the wind. Parallel ribs allow them to roll up tightly to slow down water loss in dry times.

7. Seeds may germinate on the harsh open beach, or be carried by waves and ocean currents.

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History
Sable Island Preservation Trust, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

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