With shifting dunes, sand often starts to bury plants. The only way to stay alive is to grow fast enough to keep up with the sand. But the inverse can also happen, i.e., the sand around a plant may be disappearing, blown away by the wind. In that case a plant needs to be able to create an island of stabilized ground around roots. The plant can then end up surviving, albeit on a pedestal of sandy soil sometimes reaching 15 or 20 feet high.