Federal status: Endangered
State status: Endangered
Asteraceae, the sunflower family
Endemic to southern California, currently found only in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties
This annual herb produces small, yellow, daisy-like flowers between April and June. It looks very similar to California gold fields in vegetative form.
Lyon’s Pygmydaisy occurs on volcanic rocky clay soils with little disturbance in grassland, coastal sage scrub, and open areas within chaparral. Remaining populations are generally found on saddles, flat areas at the base of slopes, or on top of small hills in a 24 kilometer area of the Santa Monica Mountains.
The primary threat to Lyon’s Pygmydaisy are habitat degradation, destruction, or fragmentation due to urban development, and competition from non-native invasive species. Frequent fire, which can replace chaparral and coastal scrub communities with non-native grasses, and high-intensity recreation activities such as horseback riding or off-road vehicles can also negatively impact existing populations. The Lyon’s Pygmydaisy populations in Agoura Hills are genetically distinct from the other populations. The majority of currently known occurrences (21 of 30) are on private lands.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends controlling populations of non-native invasive grasses, planting individuals in suitable protected areas, working with landowners to protect populations on private property from development, and protecting the species from fire and soil disturbance. Special efforts should be made to preserve the Agoura Hills population at Agora Ranch.
Where can you spot it?
The Pentachaeta Trail in Truinfo Canyon Park
- Species Profile for Lyon’s pentachaeta (Pentachaeta lyonii). Environmental Conservation Online System.