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Bigelow Coreopsis

February 07, 1988|MAYERENE BARKER

Winter rains have brought some spring wildflowers to Southern California deserts several weeks earlier than usual.

Especially plentiful is Bigelow coreopsis, usually a common sight in the desert during March and April. This year, the native plant began to carpet wide areas in the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys with bright, golden yellow flowers late last month.

Bigelow coreopsis (Coreopsis bigelovii) has an almost leafless stalk and grows up to 24 inches high. Its few narrow leaves appear at its base. Blossoms appear singly atop the stalks. Each bloom is about an inch across and consists of several daisy-like petals radiating from a central disk.

Pictured here are Bigelow coreopsis plants near the Antelope Valley Freeway and Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country.

The species was named for J. M. Bigelow, a 19th-Century professor of botany and pharmacology who helped survey West Coast flora in 1853.

Also native is Coreopsis gigantea , which usually grows near the coast. But it also can be found near Camarillo State Hospital, according to the California Native Plant Society.

Coreopsis gigantea has light green leaves and a tree-like trunk up to 5 inches thick. It reaches up to 10 feet high and its flowers measure up to 3 inches wide.

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