Forest Vines to Snow Tussocks: The Story of New Zealand Plants
Shingle Beaches and Fans
Shingle Beaches and Fans125
Along some parts of the coastline, beaches are stony rather than sandy. They provide a more stable site for plants and as habitats they are similar to the sometimes adjacent shingle fans that result from the erosion of sea cliffs.
Nearest the sea are scattered succulent herbs such as Apium prostratum and Senecio lautus. Further back we find larger herbs like Phormium cookianum, the sedges Isolepis nodosus and Cyperus ustulatus, the white-flowered New Zealand species of true linen flax, Linum monogynum, and patches of the strange, leafless shrub, Muehlenbeckia ephedroides. On the terraces behind the beaches and on shingle fans there may be a close cover of densely twiggy, small-leaved shrubs belonging to several genera — Coprosma propinqua, C. rigida, Melicytus crassifolius, Muehlenbeckia astonii and hummocky shrubby forms of the lianes Muehlenbeckia complexa and Rubus squarrosus. In this situation R. squarrosus is quite leafless and beset with yellow prickles. In the Cook Strait area the grey-leaved Spaniard (Aciphylla squarrosa) is also a common plant on fans.