Species Profile

Coast Microseris

Scientific Name: Microseris bigelovii
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: April 2006
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(ii,iii)+2ab(ii,iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: A small annual herb present in a few fragmented sites within a narrow coastal fringe on southeast Vancouver Island in a densely inhabited urbanized region. Development, recreational activities, site management practices and competition from invasive alien plants continue to impact the species.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in April 2006.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2007-12-13

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents


Coast Microseris is a small stemless annual herb of the aster family. The narrow leaves are at the base of the plant and measure 3 to 25 centimeters in length. They can be without teeth or lobes or can be deeply cut with slender or broad tapering lobes. Each plant develops a leafless flower stalk 4 to 35 centimeters tall and bearing a single yellow or orange strap-shaped flower. The flower stalk is nodding until mature. Its fruits, called “achenes,” are brown to bronze, sometimes spotted. They are crowned by five scales, each terminating in a long, hair-like bristle arising from the pointed scale. Each achene contains a single seed.


Distribution and Population

The range of Coast Microseris extends from Vancouver Island south along the west coast to California. In Canada, the species is restricted to southeastern Vancouver Island from Hornby Island to Victoria and vicinity.   Coast Microseris is found on six sites along a coastal strip no more than 50 meters from the water’s edge in a densely populated urban area on southeastern Vancouver Island.   According to records from 2002, 2003, and 2004, the six extant sites are small, with populations varying in size from 100 to 2500 plants per site for a total of 5500 to 6500 individuals. Coast Microseris has been extirpated from at least four, and perhaps as many as six, previously reported locations in Canada. There is no reliable information on past population sizes, so fluctuations and trends in the size of extant populations cannot be determined. This species, like many other annuals, may experience significant natural fluctuations in population sizes.



In Canada, Coast Microseris occurs on open rock bluffs without tall vegetation and on the margins of shallow depressions in the rock within 100 meters of the ocean. These areas remain open because of wind exposure along the shore, summer drought stress in thin soils, or seepage that waterlogs soils, all of which prevents taller vegetation from dominating. The sites are moist in autumn, winter, and spring and dry during the summer.   The low-elevation band of coastal environments, where the species occurs in British Columbia, is narrow and quickly gives way to uplands that lack the necessary conditions.



Little information is available on the biology of this species in Canada. It is known, however, that Coast Microseris is an annual that flowers and fruits in late spring. Seed dispersal between patches is probably restricted to fairly short distances. The species therefore relies on self-pollination, with its flowers being fertilized primarily by its own pollen. Most seeds are likely dispersed over short distances by wind and gravity. Seeds do not appear to have any dormancy mechanism; some germinate in the fall and others in late winter.



Habitat loss and degradation are the main threat to the species in Canada. An estimated 95% of the potential habitat was lost during the 20th century, and the loss of habitat is likely to continue into the future. Urban and industrial development pose a serious threat to this species, which occurs at the heart of one of the fastest growing regions in North America.   A major threat to remaining populations of Coast Microseris comes from recreational and outdoor activities. Several populations occur in popular walking areas. Recreational use is likely to increase in all of these locations as the number of people in southeastern Vancouver Island increases. Recreational use also poses an indirect threat as new structures, such as park benches and interpretive displays, are installed.   The species is also threatened by the invasion of exotic herbs and shrubs that take over suitable sites. These species compete with Coast Microseris for moisture and nutrients. Some extant populations of Coast Microseris occur at sites dominated by many invasive alien species.   Lastly, fire suppression is a limiting factor. The increase in light levels and decrease in competition that result from burning favour the growth of low herbaceous plants such as Coast Microseris.



Federal Protection

The Coast Microseris is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

In British Columbia, Coast Microseris is not afforded protection under any provincial legislation. However, under the British Columbia Park Act, it cannot be collected in provincial parks or protected areas.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.


Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Coast Microseris (Microseris bigelovii) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry


Recovery Team

Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team

  • Conan Webb - Chair/Contact - Parks Canada
    Phone: 250-478-5153  Send Email



PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

9 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

Response Statements

  • Response Statements - Coast Microseris (2006-11-29)

    A small annual herb present in a few fragmented sites within a narrow coastal fringe on southeast Vancouver Island in a densely inhabited urbanized region. Development, recreational activities, site management practices and competition from invasive alien plants continue to impact the species.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Coast Microseris (Microseris bigelovii) in Canada (2013-06-21)

    The Canadian population of Coast Microseris (Microseris bigelovii) was assessed as Endangered in 2006 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and in 2007 the Canadian population was listed as Endangered under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA). Coast Microseris is a small, stemless annual herb measuring 4 to 35 cm in height and bearing a single yellow flower head. It ranges from British Columbia south along the coast to California, but the Canadian population is widely disjunct from the nearest population in Oregon. The Canadian population of Coast Microseris comprises


  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2007) (2007-05-16)

    This Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of 40 species done pursuant to paragraph 15(1)(a) and in accordance with subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 141, number 26, December 13, 2007) (2007-12-26)

    Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act, hereby makes the annexed Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2006 (2006-08-30)

    2006 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2009-0126), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-02-04)

    The goal of this project is to protect selected populations of rare species from habitat degradation due to invasive species or conifer encroachment. The species include: Bartramia stricta, Rigid Apple Moss Dryopteris arguta, Coastal Wood Fern Enthostodon fascicularis,Banded Cord-moss Epilobium densiflorum, Dense Spike-primrose Limnanthes macounii ,Macoun's Meadowfoam Lotus formosissimus, Seaside Birds-foot Lotus Lupinus densiflorus, Dense-flowered Lupine Meconella oregano, White Meconella Microseris bigelovii, Coast Microseris Minuartia pusilla, Dwarf Sandwort Ranunculus alismifolius, Water-plantain Buttercup Sanicula arctopoides, Bear's-foot Sanicle Sanicula bipinnatifida, Purple Sanicle Tortula laevipila, Twisted Oak Moss The permit proposal is for multi-year species at risk (SAR) stewardship activities at several Department of National Defence (DND) properties on Southern Vancouver Island. The SAR at each site occur in open meadows that are being encroached by invasive species such as: Scotch broom, English ivy, gorse, English holly, Daphne spurge, English hawthorn, herbaceous annual and biennial weeds, annual and perennial grasses and/or conifers. The goal is to remove the invading species from the area within and adjacent to the selected SAR populations.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act Terrestrial Species: December 2006 (2006-12-28)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list. Please submit your comments by March 16, 2007 for species undergoing normal consultations and by March 14, 2008 for species undergoing extended consultations.


  • Public Registry Notice for s.83 Exceptions - CFB Esquimalt (2015-03-06)

    Operations directed to ensuring that training areas are sustainable for activities related to national defence/security. Specifically, the exceptions apply to activities for the control and management of vegetation that interferes with, or restricts, training.
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