A short outline is given of the floristic composition, structure and distribution of coastal dune vegetation found at Malindi Bay, Kenya. The area was studied by air photo interpretation and field sampling to determine the relationship of plants to aeolian features. TWINSPAN classification was used to distinguish geomorphological units on the basis of their species composition.
In this paper, an inventory and first quantitative analysis of vegetation distribution is presented. We identified 174 plant species from 62 families in the sand dunes and several plant communities are distinguished based on the species content and the connection with morphological units. Papilionaceae with 18 species and Poaceae with 17 species were the most represented families. A distinct zonal distribution of the plant communities was found.
The most important plant species are the pioneer vegetation consisting of Halopyrum mucronatum, Ipomoea pescaprae and Scaevola plumieri. The woody shrub species which have colonized the established primary dunes and hummock dunes are Cordia somaliensis, Pluchea discoridis, Tephrosia purpurea (dunensis). Succulent herbs were identified in the dune slacks and salt marsh that are moist and damp environments.