Status: Federally threatened
Project lead: Keith Bradley
Amaranthus pumilus (seabeach amaranth) is a small annual herb that grows on coastal barrier islands. It once grew along the entire Atlantic seaboard, but today is found only in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Long Island, NY. In South Carolina, populations are known to grow in Horry, Georgetown, and Charleston Counties.
The biggest threat to seabeach amaranth is the destruction of beach habitat, mainly through coastal stabilization. All of the Atlantic coast has been thoroughly developed, leaving little space for this species.
SCPCA members are working to reintroduce the plant at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Protective measures include deer cages to keep deer from eating the remaining plants. There is a need for more surveys for this plant in historic habitats, especially after tropical storms disrupt the sand. The species may ebb and flow with storm cycles.
Students from Waccamaw High School have helped restore seabeach amaranth in Murrell’s Inlet.
Kelley Nash from Brookgreen Gardens propagates seabeach amaranth for restoration.