Lasthenia californica (goldfields)

A few more views from the ‘front country’, the broad swath of foothills between the Cascade-Sierra ranges and the Central Valley.  Here is Lasthenia californica, or goldfields.  Singularly rather unimpressive little asters a few inches high, collectively they carpet the woodland with dustings of canary yellow.  As with all members of the plant family Asteraceae, each ‘flower’ is in fact a composite of dozens of tiny little florets.  Some of these have a single, showy petal (a ray flower), and others in the center of the composite flowerhead are reduced to just the essentials: some stamens, an ovary, rudimentary petals, and bristle- or scale-like sepals.

  • Species: Lasthenia californica (goldfields)
  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Where I saw it: oak woodlands, Finley Lake, Tehama County
  • Look also: Central Valley vernal pools and swales


Filed under Botany Primer, Flora

4 responses to “Lasthenia californica (goldfields)

  1. Forest Gauna

    Do you all have the Crocidium multicaule as well?

    • I’ve never seen it myself, but it is on our forest list. Your comment made me give our foothill plants a second glance, but they have a pappus of scales and are indeed Lasthenia. Do Crocidium have the same splash-of-yellow effect on the landscape? Where do you see them?

  2. Pingback: Triphysaria eriantha (johnny-tuck) | Mama Bluefoot

  3. Forest Gauna

    Yes, and yes; and no, the flower pictured is certainly Lasthenia. Our Crocidium is a little smaller, and it has pretty distinctive fuzz that you will know when you see. I only see Crocidium in sage-juniper scrub; come to think of it, as scared as I am of driving Forest roads during the early spring, almost all of the early spring flowers I know from this area are sage-juniper ones. But when you find it, I know you’ll like it 🙂

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