Growth Form:Forb/herb; tufted or low-growing form of growth, plants slender and mostly upright; hairy; occurrences generally tied to sufficient winter rainfall.
Leaves: Leaves green; leaves arranged opposite along stem; leaves are thin and divided into linear segments; leaves generally hairy.
Flower Color: Bright yellow, very small daisy-like flowers have both ray and diskflorets; bracts surrounding flower heads are hairy (see photo above); fruit is a cypsela.
Flowering Season: March or April to May
Elevation: 1,500 to 4,500 feet (457-1,372 m)
Habitat Preferences: Open areas, mesas and plains, often found in dry areas with poor (alkaline) and clay soils.
Recorded Range: California Goldfields is found in the southwestern United States in AZ, CA, NM and OR. Populations largest in Arizona and California; good populations also in southwest Oregon. This species is also native to northern Baja California and northern Mexico.
North America species range map for California Goldfields, Lasthenia californica:
North American range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
Click image for full size map
Threatened/Endangered Information: In North America, according to the California Plant Society (CPS), Perennial Goldfields,Lasthenia californica macrantha, has a California Rare Plant Rank: 1B.2; Rare or endangered in California and elsewhere. 2: Fairly endangered in California.
According to the CPS, Lasthenia californica macrantha is “threatened by competition from non-native plants and recreational activities. Potentially threatened by trail construction and foot traffic”.
Genus Information: In North America there are 17 species and 17 accepted taxa overall for Lasthenia. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 19 accepted species names and a further 56 scientific names of infraspecific rank for Lasthenia.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona and New Mexico each have 1 species of Lasthenia, California has 15 species and Nevada, Texas and Utah have 0 species. Data approximate and subject to revision.
Comments: California Goldfields is found in the southwestern United States in AZ, CA, NM and OR in large numbers but only if the winter rainfall is sufficient. With ample rainfall this species is found in large numbers carpets large areas with their small but numerous golden yellow daisy-like flowers. This is the reason for the common name “Goldfields”.
Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
California Goldfields, Lasthenia california, daisy-like flowers, seeds and plants may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents in search of food.
Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Bees and Insects
California Goldfields, Lasthenia california, daisy-like flowers brightly colored flowers and plants may be visited by butterflies, moths and other insects in search of food and nectar.
Special Value to Native Bees
According to The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, California Goldfields, Lasthenia california, is recognized by pollination ecologists as attracting large numbers of Native bees. Click here for more information on their Pollinator Conservation Program.
The genus “Lasthenia” (Lasthen'ia:) is named for the Athenian girl Lasthenia who dressed as a boy in order to attend Plato's classes, 4th century B.C.