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Beach Layia
(Layia carnosa )

Beach Layia
BLM Photograph

Description: Beach layia is an understated and pioneering annual that is less than 6 inches (15 centimeters) tall. This plant can be unbranched to highly branched, spreading to more than 16 inches (4 decimeters) across. Ray flowers white and anthers purple. Fruit white to brownish, especially at base.

Distribution: Has been found in seven dune systems from Santa Barbara north to Clam Beach, Humboldt County.

Habitat: Beach layia is restricted to coastal sand dunes, ranging in elevation from 0-100 feet (0-30 meters). In northern California, it occurs occupying sparsely vegetated open areas on semi-stabilized dunes, but also occurs in open areas, such as along trails and roads. The foredune community experiences some drifting sand and has low growing herbaceous and perennial native species.

Flowering Period: May through July

Similar Plants: Senecio vulgaris, for example, can be mistaken for beach layia. Several characteristics distinguish beach layia from other similar species: fleshy leaves, inconspicuous flower heads with short 0.08-0.1 inch (2-4 millimeter) white ray flowers and yellow disk flowers, and bristles around the top of the one-seeded dry fruit (achene).

Status: Federal Endangered, California State Endangered, California Native Plant Society List 1B

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Field Office: Arcata

Last updated: 08-05-2010