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Plant Species of Bayberry Beach
note: Not all the plant species found at Bayberry Beach could be listed on this website, there are far too many. These are just some of the more common/unique ones. For more information about Long Island's plant species, google the Long Island Botanical Society. I highly recommend the Peterson Field Guide, "Trees and Shrubs" by George A. Petrides. If you are interested in what other plant species exist in our area, contact Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge (631-286-0485) or South Shore Nature Center. The website for Long Island's refuges is longislandrefuges.fws.gov. These photos were not taken at Bayberry Beach, but from Google images. However, these species have been observed at or near Bayberry Beach.
American Beach Grass
This species is found on the beach. They are often found on the dunes and help preserve the dunes.
Sea Beach Amaranth
This is an endangered species. I have not observed it at Bayberry Beach, but I do remember seeing it in that area. If you see it, do not pick it, but contact someone like the Nature Conservancy, South Shore Nature Center, or Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge. Who knows, maybe they can take a sample and grow more of it.
This plant is on the threatened species list. It is illegal to pull a twig off of it. It has waxy leaves and very hard berries. It has a very nice smell. It is all over Bayberry Beach.
It is basically the only pine species at Bayberry Beach (except for a few white pines). The distinguishing characteristic of a pitch pine verse other pines of the north east is that pitch pine has three needles per bundle. White pine has 5 needles per bundle, red and scotch pine have 2, with red pine having long needles and scotch pine have short needles.
Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus
It is the only native cactus to Long Island. They create a beautiful flower in the early summer. I have not observed it at Bayberry Beach, but have seen it in several yards close by.
There are several different species of oak trees at Bayberry Beach that have their growth stunted by the sandy soil. However, there is only one species of scrub oak. Along with pitch pine, scrub oak dominates the pine barren ecosystem. The picture on the left is of white oak. White oak's leave are less "pointy." The picture on the right is of scrub oak.
Believe it or not, there are wild blueberry plants at Bayberry Beach, as well as wild raspberry (which usually have three leaves and are very thorny.)
Poison Ivy (do not touch)
Touching this vine will give most people an allergic reaction (not everyone is allergic.) The allergic reaction is not serious but will make you itchy for a few days to a week. It is a NON-THORNY plant with leaves of 3.
This plant has 3-7 leaflets, however, even when it is only leaves of 3, it is distinguishable from poison-ivy because raspberry plants have thorns and poison ivy does not.
I could not get any good pictures, it is the thorny vine with big smooth leaves.
This plant is a native vine with leaves of five.
This species is easily recognizable by it's white bark. It has amazing flexibility.
Beach Heather (Hudsonia Tomentosa)
You tend to find this plant right around the beach grass/shrubbery edge.
Though it grows in the water, I added this plant to the website because it is often found washed up on the beach, especially during the summertime. The cool thing about this plant is that many animals, such as sea horses, live in eelgrass beds.