[Members of the Sunflower Family in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington with Flower Heads like Sunflowers or Daisies]

Gold Stars, Spring Gold

Crocidium multicaule

Flower head of Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule

The photo above shows a close-up of the flower head of gold stars as seen high atop the Columbia Hills to the north of The Dalles, OR........February 26, 2005.

Basal leaves of Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicauleThe photo at right of shows the basal leaves and a flower bud of gold stars as seen high atop the Columbia Hills to the north of The Dalles, OR........February 26, 2005.
Characteristics:

Gold stars are a small annual to 6 or 7 inches tall. The leaves are fleshy and mostly basal, entire margined to coarsely toothed, and spatulate in shape. The basal leaves are up to 2.5 cm long and 1 cm wide. The flower stem is single or occasionally branched into two or three stems at the base of the leaves. I've notice vigorously branched and almost bushy plants in areas burnt the previous year.

The flower heads are daisy-like, with 5-13 (usually 8) yellow rays 4-10 mm in length, and numerous yellow disk flowers. The disk is typically about 1 cm wide.

Gold stars bloom from late February into May, depending upon location and altitude. They do make attractive additions to naturalized, short grass meadows. A few nurseries and botanical gardens will occasionally offer them for sale. Buy them early to set in the ground so after they bloom, they will self seed. I have also collected seed in locations where they are abundant to sow in open areas in the rock garden.


Habitat:

Gold stars are found on moist banks and fields, sandy plains, and cliff ledges which dry during the summer.


Range:

Gold stars are found from Vancouver Island south through Puget Sound and west of the Cascades to northern California and southwestern Oregon.

In the Columbia River Gorge, it is found east of Crown Point between the elevations of 100'-3000' where it extends to the western base of the Blue Mts in Walla Walla County, WA and Umatilla County, OR.

It also extends northward into the Yakima River basin into Kittitas County, WA, and southward to northern Deschutes County, OR.


Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule - Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule

Gold stars as seen at left along the Dog Mountain Trail.........May 4, 2011. The photo at right shows gold stars blooming with smooth prairiestars (Lithophragma glabrum) on gravelly slopes above Eightmile Creek, Columbia Hills State Historical Park.........March 8, 2017.

Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule -Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule

The photo above shows a close-up of the stem leaves, woolly hairs on the lower stem and bracts immediately below the floral head of gold stars as seen about 1 mile east of Celilo, OR.........March 6, 2006.

Close-up of the involucral bracts of Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule.

A close-up of the involucral bracts of gold stars as seen on open slopes at about the one mile mark of the Eagle Creek Trail, Columbia River Gorge..........March 26, 2012.

Basal leaves and flower buds of Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule - Basal leaves of Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule

Flower buds and basal leaves of gold stars (left) as seen about one mile east of Celilo, OR.........February 14, 2009. A photo of the basal leaves of gold stars on a slope above Eightmile Creek Falls, Columbia Hills State Park...........January 15, 2016.

A pretty mass of Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule

Gold stars blooming enmasse on the eastern edge of Chenoweth Table at the western outskirts of The Dalles, Oregon.........March 9, 2013.

Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule - Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule - Habitat of Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule

Gold stars blooming at left on a gravelly road cut along the road about one hundred meters above the vernal waterfalls above the Crawford Oaks trailhead, Columbia Hills State Park..........February 18, 2015. The photo at center is a habitat view from a rocky slope about 100 meters east (across Eightmile Creek) from the photo at left.........March 3, 2015. The photo at right is another habitat view from a rocky slope about 100 meters east (across Eightmile Creek) from the photo at left.........March 11, 2017.

Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule - Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule

Gold stars blooming (left) along the Memaloose Trail east of Mosier, Oregon.........March 27, 2015. Gold stars seen (right) on open slopes above the Crawford Oaks Trailhead, Columbia Hills State Park........February 23, 2016.

Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule - Gold Stars, Spring Gold: Crocidium multicaule

Earlly gold stars blooming on gravelly slopes above the water fall at the Crawford Oaks Trailhead, Columbia Hills State Historical Park........February 25, 2017.

Paul Slichter