Lasthenia californica, California Goldfields
Scientific Name: Lasthenia californica
Common Name: California Goldfields
Also Called: Goldfields
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Baeria chrysostoma, Baeria chrysostoma ssp. gracilis, Baeria chrysostoma ssp. hirsutula, Baeria chrysostoma var. gracilis, Baeria hirsutula, Lasthenia chrysostoma)
Duration: Annual or perennial.
Size: 15 inches more or less.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; stems reddish, simple or branched; erect or decumbent (lying along the ground), sprawling, simple or branched; caespitose or forming mats.
Leaves: Leaves green; opposite, linear, oblanceolate or oblong; leaf margins entire or toothed; surfaces smooth or slightly hairy.
Flower Color: Bright yellow, heads solitary or multiple on tips of branches; heads radiate, ray and disc florets, ray florets 6 to 13 (16), linear to oblong; disc florets yellow; many; phyllaries or bracts around "flower" head visibly hairy, seed achene-like.
Flowering Season:March to May.
Elevation:1,500 to 4,500 feet.
Habitat Preferences:Found in many habitats; mesas and plains, often found in dry areas with poor soil.
Recorded Range: California, Mexico. In Arizona, it occurs in the central and southern portions.
U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: According to the California Plant Society, subspecies Lasthenia californica macrantha is “Threatened by competition from non-native plants and recreational activities. Potentially threatened by trail construction and foot traffic.”
Genus Information: 17 species in Lasthenia in the United State and Canada in AZ, CA, OR, WA and British Columbia. 1 species in Arizona. 3 subspecies in Lasthenia californica;
Lasthenia californica ssp. bakeri, Baker's Goldfields,
Lasthenia californica ssp. californica, California Goldfields (AZ)
Lasthenia californica ssp. macrantha, Perennial Goldfields.
Comments: Arizona is home to Lasthenia californica ssp. californica, California Goldfields. It is common where found and with ample rainfall can carpet an area with bright yellow flowers. The photographs above were taken March 27, 2013 where large areas of plants were blooming in several locations near Kitty Joe Canyon, Tonto National Forest, Maricopa County, AZ.
Ethno-botanical uses for Lasthenia californica include grinding the parched seed into flour to make mush. See species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.