It is native to the coastline of western North America, where it is found almost exclusively on small rocky, coastal islands in the Pacific Ocean between Vancouver Island in British Columbia to the Farallon Islands off the coast of the San Francisco Bay Area in California.
This species probably evolved from Lasthenia minor, and it is adapted to the unique conditions on these maritime islands: high winds, saline sea spray, and thin soils that are often disturbed by the activities of the seabirds that roost and nest on these rocks and made acidic and nitrogen-rich from their droppings.
Though limited in distribution, this is one of the more common plants on the Farallon Islands of California, where it is an important part of the ecology of seabirds and where it is locally known as Farallon weed.
Lasthenia maritima is an annual herb with short, decumbent to prostrate stems lined with fleshy lobed or unlobed leaves up to 9 centimeters long.
- Chan, R., et al. (2001). Goldfields revisited: A molecular phylogenetic perspective on the evolution of Lasthenia (Compositae: Heliantheae sensu lato). Int J Plant Sci 162:6 1347-60.
- Crawford, D., et al. (1985). Allozyme variation within and between Lasthenia minor and its derivative species, L. maritima (Asteraceae). Amer J Bot 72:8 1177-84.
- Buffa, J. and E. McLaughlin. Farallon National Wildlife Refuge. Tideline Newsletter.
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