Chasing Goldfields

Spring 2017 brings with it an intense mission: seed collection. I’m collecting Lasthenia (Common goldfields) seed from sites across California for a common garden project. Basically, most of my time these days is spent chasing fields of gold. I’m specifically looking for Lasthenia gracilis and Lasthenia californica species. If you know of any patches of Goldfields near you, please let me know – I may just need to come visit!

The “super bloom” we are having this year brings a wonderful opportunity to collect seed, but it is also a bit overwhelming. I am dealing with the stress of visiting sites with perfect timing: not too early that there are no ripe seeds, but not too late that I can no longer see the patches. It is wonderful to explore all of the gorgeous wildflower displays this year though!

Here are some photos from my travels so far –

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L. gracilis at the Panoche Hills Recreation Area in San Benito Co. Date: 3/26/2017
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Date: 3/26/2017
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UC Riverside Motte Rimrock Reserve. Date: 3/27/2017
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My mom (Alice) enjoying the bloom… and battling her specific allergy to ONLY Lasthenia.      Date: 3/27/2017
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Searching for Lasthenia in San Diego was difficult. We only found only one good site! Special thanks to my mom for sticking with me as a field assistant during the many grueling hours of driving and searching.
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After visiting 7 sites with no luck in San Diego, this Mission Trails population was exciting to see! Date: 3/29/2017
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Lasthenia coronaria at the Rancho Jamul reserve. Unfortunately not the species I’m looking for, but a rare sight! Date: 3/30/2017
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Pollinators on L. coronaria
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The bloom was thick at UC Irvine Ecological Preserve! Date: 3/30/2017
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UCI Ecological Preserve Date: 3/30/2017
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UC Santa Barbara Sedgwick Reserve. Date: 3/31/2017

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Mt. Figueroa, northern edge of Sedgwick Reserve Date: 3/31/2017
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Date: 3/31/2017
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The populations in and around Sedgwick have no pappus (basically seed “wings”), which means it is impossible to differentiate between L. californica and L. gracilis morphologically. Since these populations are so far south though, I’m guessing they are L. gracilis. Date: 3/31/2017
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Scheduling in collecting trips sometimes means squeezing in my Pepperwood phenology surveys… I just barely finished this survey by headlamp. Photo credit: Alex Yang, who heroically stayed out there and recorded for me until the last flower was counted…                  Date: 4/2/2017

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