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Beach ragweed, Coastal ragweed
Ambrosia hispida

Copyright by: Michelle Hayden
In habitat, Eleuthera, Bahamas, 2013

General Landscape Uses: An accent groundcover in open coastal locations.

Ecological Restoration Notes: Rather sporadic along the South Florida coast. Perhaps never common, but its numbers may have been reduced by coastal development and erosion.

Availability: Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida. Available in Sanibel at the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (239-472-2329).

Description: Small spreading herb.

Dimensions: Typically 1-3 feet in height but sometimes climbing into other vegetation. Spreading and forming large mats.

Growth Rate: Moderate to fast.

Range: Monroe County Keys and Miami-Dade County north along the coasts to Brevard and Lee counties; West Indies, southern Mexico and Central America. Rather rare and sporadic throughout its range in South Florida.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Beach dunes and coastal strand.

Soils: Moist, well-drained sandy soils, without humus.

Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Secondary line; tolerates significant salt wind without injury, but usually is somewhat protected.

Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun.

Flower Color: White.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy.

Flowering Season: All year; peak in summer.

Fruit: Inconspicuous achene with 1-5 conic spines. All year.

Wildlife and Ecology: The flowers are pollinated by wind.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from cuttings. Newly planted patches may spread rapidly, then die back after 2-3 years.

Comments: An excellent groundcover in coastal areas with high light.

Copyright by: Michelle Hayden
In habitat, Eleuthera, Bahamas, 2013

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Other data on Ambrosia hispida available from:

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