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Layne's Butterweed
(Packera layneae )

Layne's butterweed
BLM Photograph

Description: This tall, perennial herb often stands over 2 feet (60 cm) and has yellow flowers. Leaves are blue green, and slightly thickened. The leaves are 3 to 10 inches (8 to 24 cm) long, tapered at both ends and variously toothed. Leaves are usually larger near the base of the stem than higher on the plant. Plants retain some hairiness at maturity, especially at the nodes (where leaves are attached and branching points). Flower heads (that resemble a single flower, but that are made up of many small flowers, as is typical of this family) have few (5-8) narrow rays (rays resemble the petals of a single flower). In fact, these flower heads often look like they are missing rays. The bracts (phyllaries) surrounding the flower head are all the same length, forming a single row. Plants spread vegetatively and clusters of short stems with basal leaves are common. In fact in some situations only a small portion of these stems extend vertically and produce flowers in a given year.

Distribution: Known mostly from western Eldorado County, but also found in the Red Hills of Tuolumne County, and Yuba County near Brownsville.  In the Redding Field Office area this plant is suspected only.

Habitat: Layne's butterweed often grows in gaps in chaparral. Sonoma sage, Lemmon's ceanothus, McNab cypress, and the rare species, Stebbins morning glory, Roderick's ceanothus, Pine Hill flannebush, Red Hills soaproot, Eldorado mules' ears are among distinctive associates.

Flowering Period: April to June

Similar Plants: Many butterweeds (Senecio species) are similar in appearance. Leaf form (narrow leaves for instance), spreading growth habit, small number of rays and habitat can all be used to differentiate this species from other species of the genus that grow in the region. (Expert verification can be helpful for this genus.)

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

Glossary of
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Diagram of Plant Parts

Definitions of
Plant Status

Field Office: Mother Lode, Redding

Last updated: 08-05-2010