I freaked out after spotting this Dudleya during a beach hike. I mean we see succulents everyday in the garden setting, but to see CA native Dudleya growing amongst the other wildflowers is pretty cool.
These succulents were growing about 3 miles south of our apartment near the beach in a sand dune / sea cliff type area. Above is the first one we saw. The flowers on it were already spent. If it is the Dudleya species I think it is…it would have had yellow inflorescence.
Now the challenge of trying to ID this guy. Well, we are not Dudleya experts, and did some research. I feel that it is probably Dudleya farinosa with a slight chance it is Dudleya caespitosa…both are California natives that grow along the coast in sandy and cliff like areas. Cactus Blog has great pics of both. Also, they look about the same as the ones we saw growing wild down in Big Sur off Hwy 1.
Here is another outcrop. You can see two of them just right of center with a red ting to their leaves.
The common names include Bluff Lettuce, Live Forever, Sea Lettuce, and Powdery Dudleya. Bluff Lettuce looks to be the right name for this plant.
So what is all the fuss about these finding Dudleya growing here? Well, you only have to go a mile north or south before you come across huge spans of Carpobrotus edulis, an invasive Ice Plant that is vigorous, spreads fast, and smothers what ever gets in its way. CAL-IPC does a great job explaining the history this Ice Plant which had been used for erosion control along the California coast from 1900s-1970.
Great news is that a lot of acres along the coasthas been restored, including this place…so I think these guys will be around for years to come.
— Far Out Flora