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Lamarckia aurea

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to woody perennial herb; roots generally fibrous. Stem: generally round, hollow; nodes swollen, solid. Leaf: alternate, 2-ranked, generally linear, parallel-veined; sheath generally open; ligule membranous or hairy, at blade base. Inflorescence: various (of generally many spikelets). Spikelet: glumes generally 2; florets (lemma, palea, flower) 1--many; lemma generally membranous, sometimes glume-like; palea generally +- transparent, +- enclosed by lemma. Flower: generally bisexual, minute; perianth vestigial; stamens generally 3; stigmas generally 2, generally plumose. Fruit: grain, sometimes achene- or utricle-like.
Genera In Family: 650--900 genera; +- 10550 species: worldwide; greatest economic importance of any family (wheat, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, sugar cane, forage crops, ornamental, weeds; thatching, weaving, building materials). Note: Generally wind-pollinated. Achnatherum, Ampelodesmos, Hesperostipa, Nassella, Piptatherum, Piptochaetium, Ptilagrostis moved to Stipa; Elytrigia, Leymus, Pascopyrum, Pseudoroegneria, Taeniatherum to Elymus; Hierochloe to Anthoxanthum; Lolium, Vulpia to Festuca; Lycurus to Muhlenbergia; Monanthochloe to Distichlis; Pleuraphis to Hilaria; Rhynchelytrum to Melinis. The following taxa (in genera not included here), recorded in California from historical collections or reported in literature, are extirpated, lacking vouchers, or not considered naturalized: Acrachne racemosa (Roth) Ohwi, Allolepis texana (Vasey) Soderstr. & H.F. Decker, Amphibromus nervosus (Hook. f.) Baill., Axonopus affinis Chase, Axonopus fissifolius (Raddi) Kuhlm., Coix lacryma-jobi L., Cutandia memphitica (Spreng.) K. Richt., Dinebra retroflexa (Vahl) Panz., Eremochloa ciliaris (L.) Merr., Eustachys distichophylla (Lag.) Nees, Gaudinia fragilis (L.) P. Beauv., Miscanthus sinensis Andersson, Neyraudia arundinacea (L.) Henrard, Phyllostachys aurea Rivière & C. Rivière, Phyllostachys bambusoides Siebold & Zuccarini, Rottboellia cochinchinensis (Lour.) Clayton, Schedonnardus paniculatus (Nutt.) Branner & Coville, Schizachyrium cirratum (Hack.) Wooton & Standl., Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash, Themeda quadrivalvis (L.) Kuntze, Thysanolaena latifolia (Hornem.) Honda, Tribolium obliterum (Hemsl.) Renvoize, Zea mays L., Zizania palustris L. var. interior (Fassett) Dore, Zoysia japonica Steud. Paspalum pubiflorum E. Fourn., Paspalum quadrifarium Lam., are now reported for southern California (J Bot Res Inst Texas 4:761--770). See Glossary p. 30 for illustrations of general family characteristics.
eFlora Treatment Author: James P. Smith, Jr., except as noted
Scientific Editor: James P. Smith, Jr., J. Travis Columbus, Dieter H. Wilken.
Genus: LamarckiaView Description 

Common Name: GOLDENTOP

Species In Genus: 1 sp.: native to Mediterranean, naturalized in similar climates worldwide. Etymology: (J.B. Lamarck, French botanist, 1744--1829)
eFlora Treatment Author: Lynn G. Clark
Lamarckia aurea (L.) Moench
Habit: Annual, cespitose, glabrous. Stem: generally erect, 7--40 cm. Leaf: cauline, +- evenly distributed; ligule 3--7 mm, membranous, glabrous, tip +- irregularly cut; blade 2.5--9 cm, 2.5--7 mm wide, flat. Inflorescence: panicle-like, terminal, 2--8 cm, dense, golden yellow to +- purple; axis short-white-hairy in branch axils; spikelets short-stalked, with 1 fertile and 1--3 sterile spikelets in spreading to drooping clusters, each cluster generally falling as 1 unit. Fertile Spikelet: glumes 2.5--4 mm, +- equal, generally = spikelet; florets 2; lower floret fertile, 2.5--3 mm, lemma awned from near tip, awn 6--7 mm, straight; upper floret sterile, +- 0.5 mm, awn 4--5 mm. Sterile Spikelet: 6--9 mm, >> glumes, linear; glumes > lower floret; florets 5--8; lemmas +- overlapping, 1.5--2 mm, obtuse, tip +- fringed, awn 0 (stalk base sometimes with a reduced, sterile spikelet like fertile in size and shape). Chromosomes: n=7.
Ecology: Open ground, moist seeps, rocky hillsides, sandy soil; Elevation: < 1250 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCoRO, NCoRI, SNF, Teh, CW, SW; Distribution Outside California: Arizona; native to Mediterranean. Flowering Time: Feb--May Note: Somewhat weedy.
Jepson eFlora Author: Lynn G. Clark
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Lamarckia aurea

botanical illustration including Lamarckia aurea


Citation for this treatment: Lynn G. Clark 2012, Lamarckia aurea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=30147, accessed on February 25, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 25, 2020.

Lamarckia aurea
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© 2006 Steve Matson
Lamarckia aurea
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© 2010 California Academy of Sciences
Lamarckia aurea
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© 2011 Steve Matson
Lamarckia aurea
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© 2011 Steve Matson
Lamarckia aurea
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© 2011 Neal Kramer
Lamarckia aurea
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© 2018 Neal Kramer

More photos of Lamarckia aurea in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Lamarckia aurea:
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).