Marsh Sandwort, Arenaria paludicola

by Doreen Smith

A very rare, critically endangered plant (List 1B.1) can now be found growing in Marin County. This is the marsh sandwort, Arenaria paludicola, an obscure, tiny, white-flowered, straggling, perennial plant of freshwater marshes. There are only two known remaining native populations on the California coast south of here. From these, authorized NPS staff took cuttings and planted them along the seeps north of the main parking lot near Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands.

There are other members of the Caryophyllaceae that look similar and grow in marshy sites here that can easily be confused with this rare species, but check the pictures here carefully if you are interested. Perhaps you may find an overlooked natural Marin population.
Someone recently reported discovering some in Mendocino County.

Arenaria paludicola IMG 2492b1Arenaria paludicola Habitat IMG 2511

Arenaria paludicolamarsh sandwort

Photos by Vernon Smith