Abronia umbellata ssp. breviflora

Common Names:
pink sand verbena
(Standl.) Munz
Growth Habit:
Forb/herb, Vine
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Edward Guerrant, Ph.D.
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank & Plant Conservation Programs

The conservation of Abronia umbellata ssp. breviflora is fully sponsored.
Edward Guerrant, Ph.D. contributed to this Plant Profile.


Due to an ironic twist of fate, pink sandverbena was the first North American plant collected and described from west of the Mississippi. Pink sandverbena seeds were first collected at Monterey Bay, CA on a 1786 scientific expedition. The collector, Jean-Nicolas Collignon, was subsequently lost at sea with his ship. The seeds, however, had been sent back Paris on another ship, where they were grown in the Jardin des Plantes and named. Without active conservation efforts, pink sandverbena's ultimate fate may be as grim as that of the man who discovered it.

Abronia umbellata ssp. breviflora was once found all along the Pacific coast, from northern California to British Columbia. Today it is limited to a few populations in northern California and Oregon. Long thought extinct in both Washington and British Columbia, two individuals were recently found on Vancouver Island that may be this species. Habitat destruction caused by human activity and exotic plant invasion does not solely impact this sandy beach dwelling species. The plight of the endangered western snowy plover (a native bird) appears correlated with the state of pink sandverbena. Both of these species require open sandy beaches, and evidence suggests that the snowy plover uses this sandverbena for forage and cover. It follows that efforts to conserve either of these species will be most effective if coordinated with each other.

In 2000, two plants were found on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. The debate continues as to whether they are A. umbellata ssp. breviflora or a separate taxon, A. umbellata ssp. acutalata. If they are A. umbellata ssp. breviflora, then the range truly extends from northern California to Canada. If, however, they are identified as A. umbellata ssp. acutalata, two points become apparent: 1) there are only TWO remaining INDIVIDUALS of A. umbellata ssp. acutalata in the entire world and 2) the range of A. umbellata ssp. breviflora has been reduced to include only northern California and Oregon.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research