E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Abronia umbellata Lam.
pink sand-verbena
Nyctaginaceae (Four o'clock family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Matt Fairbarns  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #19621)

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Distribution of Abronia umbellata
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Abronia umbellata var. breviflora


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.


Fairbarns, M.D., C. Webb, L.K. Blight, N. Page, B. Costanzo, T. Kaye, T. Lea and J. McIntosh. 2007. Recovery Strategy for the Pink Sand-verbena (Abronia umbellata) in Canada (Final). Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Parks Canada Agency. Ottawa

Spellenberg, Richard W. Abronia umbellata var. breviflora. {ah}www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=242415099{/a\h}Flora North America Online{/a}.

Species Information

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Annual, sometimes perennial herb from a thick, deep taproot, densely glandular-hairy throughout; stems trailing, to 1.5 m long; branches short, forming mats.
Opposite, thick and fleshy, lanceolate to narrowly egg-shaped, 2-6 cm long, 0.8-3.5 cm wide; stalks 2.5-7 cm long.
Inflorescence of many-flowered, rounded heads on stout flower stalks 2-4 cm long, involucral bracts 5 (4), in a whorl, narrowly lanceolate, 5-6 mm long; perianth tube greenish to pinkish, 6-8 mm long, widely flaring into a pink, 5-lobed limb 5-6 mm wide.
Achenes, 10-12 mm long, prominently 3- or 4-winged, the wings of the fruits wider than the fruit bodies.
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.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

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.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References