Sunflower Family (Asteraceae)

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Amauria rotundifolia

Very similar in appearance to the smaller common rock daisy (Perityle emoryi), this perennial daisy with white and yellow flowers, has very sweet-smelling leaves when crushed. The scent is a good way to distinguish this plant from the common rock daisy, which also occurs on the island in spring after good rainfall, and has more triangular leaves. This genus (Amauria) is endemic to Mexico, and this species is restricted to Baja California.  Amauria rotundifolia is common on San Martín Island, growing between cracks in the rocks and flowering for many months.

Amauria rotundifoliaAmauria rotundifolia Map

Coreopsis maritima - sea dahlia

This unusual member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) has fairly succulent stems and large lacey (dissected) leaves with large (<5”) bright yellow flowers in spring. It is summer deciduous, like so many plants of this region, and leaves nothing but some low bare stems in the fall. Present in small numbers on the island, near the summit of the cone and outside the spray zone. Interestingly, this species is far more abundant on other Pacific coast islands (e.g., Todos Santos and Santa Catalina).

Coreopsis maritima

Coreopsis maritima Map

Encelia californica - bush sunflower

This common sunflower is one of the few non-succulent members of the perennial flora. Flowers are held well above the vegetative parts of the plants (i.e., leaves and branches) on long (10-15”) stalks.  The yellow petals with dark flower centers (disc florets) and undivided (entire) leaves make the plants readily distinguished from Coreopsis maritima which has yellow flower centers and lacey, much dissected leaves.  Blooming abundantly in spring, the plants later produce seed heads that are a valuable food source for the island’s many birds in the summer. This species is winter-deciduous and is not found in the salt spray zone of the island.

Encelia californicaEncelia californica Map

Senecio lyonii - island senecio

This member of the sunflower family can be hard to spot in summer and fall when the leaves have died back, but in spring it has bright green foliage and yellow flowers. Although the leaves are somewhat succulent in appearance, this plant is not a true succulent. A small shrub, it is mostly found at higher elevations outside the spray zone on the east side of the island. This species is restricted to the island and a small part of the adjacent coastline in Baja California, but is also found on the California Channel Islands. It does not occur in large numbers (on the island or elsewhere) and should be considered quite rare; its preferred habitat should be considered for conservation.

Senecio lyoniiSenecio lyonii Senecio lyonii Map