Common name: Fremont’s Tidy-tips
Scientific name: Layia fremontii
Family: Asteraceae (sunflower)
Size: plant 4 to 10 inches tall, flower up to 5 cm across
Fun facts: Tidy-tips are insect pollinated. The white circle with a yellow center is like a bull’s-eye or target marking the nectar to guide the pollinators.
Description: Member of the sunflower family. Each flowerhead is actually made up of 20-40 individual flowers. The outer ray flowers look like petals while the inner disk flowers are tiny and tubular (tube-shaped).
In Fremont’s Tidy-tips, the ray flowers are bright yellow at the base and pure white at the tips. They have a delicate fragrance.
Life cycle: Fremont’s Tidy-tips are annuals. They germinate after the first fall rains. As soon as the weather warms, they grow quickly and can bloom in late March or early April.
Ecology: As with the California Goldfields (Lasthenia californica) with which they grow, the Tidy-tips produce large quantities of nutritious seeds. Native Americans may have collected the seeds for food. Many rodents and insects such as ants depend on these seeds for food as well.