Plant of the day: Mt. Tamalpais lessingia

Tiny pale pink flowers are scattered throughout the grasses and serpentine rocks of Carson Ridge. They grow singly and in small clusters at the end of highly branched, wiry stems. When you look close you see that they form a cobwebby network throughout the brown grass. This is Mt. Tamalpais lessingia (Lessingia micradenia var. micradenia).

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This plant prefers shallow gravely soil on serpentine outcrops, according to the Marin Flora. This variety grows only in Marin, and is listed as a rare species. It also is very counterintuitive to identify. Though it appears to have single blossoms with five petals, it’s actually in the Asteraceae family along with sunflowers, daisies and other composites. But the Lessingia species tend to be sneaky this way–check out this list and see for yourself.

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Filed under Native, Plant of the day, Rare

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