Clustered Tarweed (Fasciculata)

The Clustered Tarweed (Fasciculata) is generally described as an annual forb/herb. This is native to the U.S. (United States) .

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Ethnobotanic: This tarweed is one of the tarweeds used in pinole, a staple food in the diets of the Indian people in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Santa Ynez, California (Timbrook 1993). The seeds were toasted and then pounded into a black, dry flour with an agreeable taste. The roots of several Hemizonia species were eaten by the Miwok, who considered them to be an important part of their diet. The steam from boiling Hemizonia fasiculata was inhaled by the Kumeyaay to relieve headaches.

Wildlife: The dark seeds (achenes) of tarweeds are used as food by many birds and small mammals, including mourning doves, quail, blackbirds, finches, Oregon juncos, California horned larks, western meadowlarks, American pipist, sparrows, towhees, chipmunks, ground squirrels, and mice. Cottontail rabbits, ground squirrels, and chipmunks eat the plants.

General Characteristics

General: Sunflower Family (Asteraceae). Hemizonia fasiculata is an annual herb, 0.5-10 dm tall. The stems are glabrous to sparsely short-bristly. The lower leaves are 3.5-15 cm, dentate to deeply lobed, and bristly. The upper cauline leaves are linear, entire, and appressed to the stem. The inflorescence is open to dense, with the 4.5-5.5 mm bell-shaped involucre, with 5 deep ray flowers and 6 disc flowers having yellow corollas and black anthers. The fruits are 2.5-5 mm beaked achenes.

Required Growing Conditions

For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site. Hemizonia fasicularis is common in coastal grasslands and woodlands below 900 m elevations. It grows in southern California on the central coast, southern outer Coast Ranges, from southwestern California to central Baja California.

Cultivation and Care

Hemizonia species seeds ripen in late summer, usually in August in California. After gathering, seeds can be stored in a cool, dry place for at least a year and still maintain viability. Hemizonia species require well-drained, fairly dry soils with full sun. These annual species produce prolific seeds, and can be planted directly in the soil or in seed flats. Plant seeds at the soil surface or plant 1/8 to ¼ in a well-drained soil. Water seedlings as the soil dries to stimulate growth. It is best to plant seeds in the fall. Fertilization stimulates growth and seed production.

General Upkeep and Control

Traditional Resource Management: Resource management of tarweed includes the following: Seeds were distributed during the process of gathering seeds through seed beating. Burning occurred during September and October after ripened seeds were harvested. Grassland species were burned for plant improvement by the tribes throughout California. Seeds were planted from wild plants. A Diegueño woman reported her people always cleared a small spot near their dwelling to plant seeds of plants with greens seeds, and roots. Ownership of seed-gathering grounds promoted long term care and sustainable harvest practices.

Plant Basics
General Type Forb/herb
Growth Duration Annual
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA