[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
The photo at left 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. The photo at right shows gold stars beginning to bloom on sandy roadside banks along Eightmile Creek above the Crawford Oaks trailhead, Columbia Hills Historical State Park......Feberuary 9, 2020.
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
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.
Gold stars are found on moist banks and fields, sandy plains,
and cliff ledges which dry during the summer.
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 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.
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
A close-upat left 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. The photo at right shows a close-up view of gold stars as seen along trails near the basalt arch at Catherine Creek, Columbia River Gorge.......March 17, 2019.
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.
Gold stars blooming enmasse at left on the eastern edge of Chenoweth Table at the western outskirts of The Dalles, Oregon.........March 9, 2013. The photo at right shows several gold stars in bloom at the rim of Canyon Creek in the Klickitat Wildlife Area......March 31, 2019.
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 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.
Early gold stars blooming on gravelly slopes above the water fall at the Crawford Oaks Trailhead, Columbia Hills State Historical Park........February 25, 2017.
Early spring leaves and flower buds of gold stars observed on slopes east of the lower Deschutes River, Deschutes River State Recreation Area......January 29, 2021.
Early gold stars blooming on gravelly slopes above the water fall at the Crawford Oaks Trailhead, Columbia Hills State Historical Park........January 29, 2018.
Early gold stars blooming on gravelly slopes at left above the waterfall at the Crawford Oaks Trailhead, Columbia Hills State Historical Park........February 24, 2021. The photo at right shows gold stars in bloom atop the Columbia Hills.....March 23, 2021.