Lasthenia californica - Plantago erecta - Vulpia microstachys Herbaceous Alliance
California goldfields - dwarf plantain - small fescue flower fields

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormHerb
  • Elevation85-1150 m
  • State RarityS4
  • Global RarityG4
  • DistributionUSA: CA (CNPS data), OR (TJM2) (BONAP), Baja California, Mexico (TJM2)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsYes
  • Date Added2009/09/01

Characteristic Species

Lasthenia californica, Lasthenia gracilis, Lasthenia minor, Plantago erecta and/or Vulpia microstachys are characteristically present, dominant, or co-dominant in the herbaceous layer with a variety of other other herbs. Species that are diagnostic for associations in this alliance and occur with one of the main alliance character species are Achnatherum lemmonii, Agrostis elliottiana, Atriplex californica, Atriplex coronata var. notatior, Bromus hordeaceus, Calycadenia multiglandulosa, Calycadenia truncata, Centromadia fitchii, Chlorogalum angustifolium, Erigeron glaucus, Hemizonia congesta, Hypochaeris glabra, Juncus bufonius, Layia pentachaeta, Layia platyglossa, Lepidium nitidum, Lotus humistratus, Micropus californicus, Navarretia tagetina, Pectocarya linearis, Pectocarya penicillata, Plagiobothrys acanthocarpus, Plagiobothrys arizonicus, Plagiobothrys canescens, Sedella pumila, Selaginella hansenii and Triphysaria eriantha. Other species may be present and of note for certain associations including Amsinckia menziesii, Amsinckia tessellata, Astragalus didymocarpus, Briza minor, Brodiaea spp., Bromus spp., Calandrinia ciliata, Calycadenia oppositifolia, Camissonia campestris, Castilleja spp., Ceanothus cuneatus, Clarkia spp., Crassula connata, Dichelostemma capitatum, Distichlis spicata, Dudleya cymosa, Elymus elymoides, Eriodictyon spp., Eriogonum gracillimum, Erodium cicutarium, Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholzia lobbii, Gilia tricolor, Hedypnois cretica, Hesperevax sparsiflora, Holocarpha virgata, Hordeum murinum, Lessingia virgata, Linanthus liniflorus, Lolium perenne, Lomatium spp., Lupinus nanus, Lupinus spectabilis, Malacothrix coulteri, Medicago polymorpha, Microseris elegans, Schismus spp., Soliva sessilis and Trifolium spp.

Vegetation Layers

Herbs < 60 cm; cover is open to continuous.

Membership Rules

  • Lasthenia californica, Lasthenia gracilis, Plantago erecta, and/or Vulpia microstachys > 30% relative cover in stands with other native and non-native species in the herbaceous layer (Evens et al. 2004).
  • Lasthenia californica, Plantago erecta, and/or Vulpia microstachys characteristically present in stands with > 50% relative cover of native species (Klein et al. 2007).
  • Lasthenia californica, Erigeron glaucus, Calycadenia multiglandulosa, Calycadenia truncata, Hemizonia congesta, Lomatium spp., Lotus humistratus, Micropus californicus, Plantago erecta, and Vulpia microstachys > 50% relative cover individually or in combination (Klein et al. 2015).
  • Lasthenia spp. or Extriplex californica > 30% relative cover and both species are present (Rodriguez et al. 2017).
  • Lasthenia californica, Plantago erecta, and/or Vulpia microstachys characteristically present in stands and usually > 10% relative cover in the herb layer; other native species such as Lepidium nitidum and Crassula connata may be well-represented (VegCAMP 2010, VegCAMP 2015b).
  • Lasthenia californica, L. gracilis, L. minor, Plantago erecta, and/or Vulpia microstachys is/are characteristically present in herbaceous stands with various other species including Lepidium nitidum, Navarretia tagetina, Triphysaria eriantha, Juncus bufonius, Chlorogalum angustifolium, Bromus hordeaceus, Layia spp., or Trifolium spp. (Buck-Diaz et al. 2011, Buck-Diaz et al. 2012, Buck-Diaz et al. 2013).
  • Erodium cicutarium and Bromus rubens are present and sub-dominant while Vulpia microstachys, Lepidium nitidum, and/or Trifolium gracilentum occur at > 30% relative cover with other herbs (VegCAMP 2015b).
  • Erodium spp. and Bromus spp. appear sub-dominant to dominant with Lasthenia (gracilis), Plantago erecta, Plagiobothrys cancescens, Crassula connata, and other native forbs (VegCAMP 2015b).
  • Lasthenia californica or L. gracilis with > 30% relative cover in the herbaceous layer with various other herbs on vernal alkaline flats and low hills (Buck-Diaz et al. 2012, VegCAMP 2015b).
  • Lasthenia minor occurs with > 30% relative cover with other herbs on vernal alkaline flats (Buck-Diaz et al. 2012, VegCAMP 2015b).
  • Lasthenia californica > 50% relative cover and Atriplex coronata var. notatior is characteristically present (Klein and Evens 2005).
  • Calycadenia multiglandulosa, Plantago erecta, Agoseris heterophylla, and Lotus humistratus abundant in spring and summer, while non-natives may be co-dominant on serpentine soils (Evens and Kentner 2006).
  • Layia platyglossa is > 30% relative cover with other native and non-native plants including Bromus rubens, Erodium cicutarium, Vulpia microstachys, and Lasthenia gracilis (Buck-Diaz et al. 2013).
  • Layia pentachaeta, Plagiobothrys canescens and/or P. arizonicus are characteristic and occurring with other native and non-native plants including Amsinckia menziesii, Bromus rubens, Erodium cicutarium, Hordeum murinum, Lasthenia spp., Pectocarya spp. and Schismus spp. (Buck-Diaz et al. 2012).
  • Lepidium nitidum with > 30% cover with other native and non-native plants including Bromus rubens, Crassula connata, Erodium cicutarium, Lasthenia californica, Trifolium gracilentum, and Vulpia microstachys (Buck-Diaz et al. 2012).
  • Lolium perenne > 60% relative cover with Hemizonia congesta at low to moderate cover (depending on season) along with other forb and grass species (Evens and San 2004, Klein et al. 2015).
  • Lolium perenne has between 30% to 60% relative cover with Lasthenia californica or Plantago erecta occurring along with other various herbs (Even and San 2004).
  • Pectocarya linearis or P. penicillata is seasonally co-dominant to dominant on sandy flats with Calandrinia ciliata, Camissonia campestris, Erodium cicutarium, Lasthenia gracilis, Linanthus liniflorus, Schismus sp., Vulpia microstachys, and/or other herbs (Buck-Diaz et al. 2013, VegCAMP 2015b).
  • Plagiobothrys acanthocarpa occurs with > 30% relative cover along with other native and non-native plants including Lasthenia californica, Plantago erecta, Juncus bufonius, Hedypnois cretica, Medicago polymorpha, and Soliva sessilis (Buck-Diaz et al. 2012).
  • Selaginella hansenii, Vulpia microstachys and/or Plantago erecta intermix with a variety of other native species on and off serpentine soils including Lupinus spectabilis, Eschscholzia lobbii, Holocarpha virgata subsp. virgata, Plantago erecta, Dudleya cymosa and Trifolium willdenovii (Buck-Diaz et al. 2012, Klein et al. 2007).
  • Selaginella hansenii and Vulpia microstachys occur on rocky volcanic substrate, intermixing with other native species such as Plantago erecta, Lessingia virgata, Lupinus nanus, Lupinus spectabilis, Dichelostemma capitatum, Hypochaeris glabra,Triphysaria eriantha subsp. eriantha, or Calycadenia truncata (Klein et al. 2007).
  • Vulpia microstachys with > 30% relative cover with other annual grasses (including Bromus spp.) and Plantago erecta (Evens et al. 2006).
  • Vulpia microstachys and Plantago erecta are typically present on ultramafic (including gabbro and serpentine) or volcanic substrates, with other natives such as Calycadenia truncata, C. multiglandulosa (or C. oppositifolia), Castilleja lacera, C. tenuis, and Trifolium wildenovii (Klein et al. 2007).
  • Vulpia microstachys constant with low cover, Elymus elymoides and/or Achnatherum lemmonii are present. Shrub species Ceanothus cuneatus and Eriodictyon spp. frequently present at sparse cover. Found on Lassen National Forest Tuscan flows (Klein et al. 2007).
  • Vulpia microstachys, Plantago erecta, and/or Lasthenia californica occur with characteristic species such as Bromus hordeaceus, Briza minor, Juncus bufonius, Hypochaeris glabra, Agrostis elliottiana, Cicendia quadrangularis, Chlorogalum angustifolium, Lepidium nitidum, Navarretia tagetina, and Triphysaria eriantha (Klein et al. 2007).
  • Vulpia microstachys and/or Plantago erecta occur with characteristic species Navarretia tagetina, Bromus hordeaceus, and Hemizonia fitchii (Klein et al. 2007).
  • Vulpia microstachys and Plantago erecta occur with other native and non-native species including Trifolium depauperatum, Bromus hordeaceus, and Hypochaeris glabra (Buck-Diaz et al. 2013).
  • Vulpia microstachys characterizes the herbaceous layer with a variety of other native and non-native herbs (Buck-Diaz et al. 2012).

Habitats

Ridges and slopes at all aspects. Soils are shallow loams and clays, especially on volcanic and serpentine substrates. The USFWS Wetland Inventory (1996 national list) recognizes Lasthenia californica as a FACU* plant.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) California annual grassland series
NVCS (2009) Not treated
Calveg Annual grasses and forbs
Holland Native grassland, Wildflower field
Munz Valley grassland
WHR Annual grassland
CDFW CA Code 44.108.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Mesomorphic Shrub and Herb Vegetation (Shrubland and Grassland)
Formation Subclass Mediterranean Scrub and Grassland
Formation Mediterranean Grassland and Forb Meadow
Division California Grassland and Meadow
Macro Group California Annual and Perennial Grassland
Group California annual herb/grass group