El Dorado mule-ears

El Dorado mule-ears

--Wyethia reticulata

El Dorado mule-ears is a perennial sunflower that dies back to the ground's surface each year. The leaves grow along the stem and are large (up to six inches long) and triangular in shape. This clearly differentiates El Dorado mule-ears from two other common species of mules ears that grow in the same area. The others have leaves that

are either round or lance-shaped and clustered near the base of the plants. The flower heads are up to three inches in diameter and are actually composed of numerous bright yellow ray and disk flowers, and look like a typical sunflower.

El Dorado mule-ears grows only in the gabbro soil region of western El Dorado County; in other words, it is endemic to this soil formation. It occurs both in openings and beneath the canopies of trees and shrubs in both chaparral and oak woodland habitats, sometimes forming dense patches.

Species of concern.

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