Solidago californica Nutt. is natived to southern Oregon and much of California except the Mohave Desert area in the southeastern portion of the state. The species is distinguished from S. velutina by if more densely hairy stems and much more densely hairy peduncles and by its sparsely to moderately densely hairy upper peduncle bracts and narrowly ovate outer phyllaries.
The species has been treated as S. velutina subsp. californica (Nutt.) Semple (Semple and Cook 2006) or placed in complete synonymy under S. velutina (Nesom 1989). Two multivariate studies support recognition of the taxa at the species level. Semple et al. (1990) compared S. californica to northern members of S. velutina (as S. sparsiflora), S. nemoralis subsp. decemflora and S. nemoralis subsp. nemoralis. In a large multivariate study of the entire subsection (Semple et al. 2018), S. californica was found to be distinct from S. hintoniorum, S. mollis, S. nana, S. nemoralis, S. radula, and S. velutina (including S. sparsiflora).
Solidago californica is diploid throughout its range with a few tetraploids reported from Sonoma Co., California