Coastal, or near shore, vegetation is found in a narrow zone (strand), near the ocean (or in some places close to the lagoon edge) on open sandy and rocky shores. Because the atolls and reef islands of the Marshall Islands have extensive sandy and rocky shores, this type of vegetation is common. Several plants found in this plant community are used traditionally for various purposes, including use as a windbreak and to control erosion.
Although plants of different forms, such as trees, shrubs, vines, and herbs, are all found in the coastal vegetation of the Marshall Islands, they share several things in common. For example, many produce seeds that float and are able to survive in saltwater for long periods of time. These seeds can be carried long distances by ocean currents. The strand plants also have to be able to survive in very sunny, often windy, salty conditions near the seashore. Many coastal plants are non-woody (herbs) with fleshy leaves and salty sap.