in A. P. de Candolle and A. L. P. P. de Candolle, Prodr. 14: 7. 1856.
Herbs or subshrubs, compact or spreading, matted, 0.5–2.5 × 3–15 dm, tomentose to floccose. Stems: caudex absent or spreading; aerial flowering stems erect, slender, solid, not fistulose, usually arising directly from a taproot, 0.5–1.5 dm, tomentose to floccose. Leaves basal, typically not in rosettes; petiole 0.5–6 cm, tomentose to floccose; blade usually narrowly elliptic, 1–3(–3.5) × (0.3–)0.5–1(–1.2) cm, densely tomentose abaxially, thinly tomentose, floccose or glabrous and grayish to greenish adaxially, margins entire, plane or undulate and crisped. Inflorescences umbellate or compound-umbellate, 10–30 × 10–25 cm; branches tomentose to floccose; bracts 3–9, semileaflike at proximal node, 0.5–2 × 0.2–1 cm, often scalelike distally. Involucres 1 per node, turbinate, 1.5–7 × 2–5 mm, tomentose to floccose; teeth 5–8, erect, 0.1–0.5 mm. Flowers 3–8 mm, including 0.7–2 mm stipelike base; perianth white to cream, densely pubescent abaxially; tepals dimorphic, those of outer whorl lanceolate to elliptic, 2–5 × 1–3 mm, those of inner whorl lanceolate to fan-shaped, 1.5–6 × 2–4 mm; stamens exserted, 2–4 mm; filaments pilose proximally. Achenes light brown to brown, 4–5 mm, glabrous except for sparsely pubescent beak.
Ariz., Colo., Kans., N.Mex., Okla., Tex., including Mexico.
Varieties 3 (3 in the flora).
Eriogonum jamesii is a nectar source for the rare Spalding dotted-blue butterfly (Euphilotes spaldingi).
Eriogonum jamesii and E. arcuatum (see below) are considered “life medicines” and used ceremonially by Native Americans (C. Arnold, pers. comm.; A. B. Reagan 1929; P. A. Vestal 1952).
|1||Leaf margins undulate, frequently crisped; flowers 3-5(-6) mm; se Arizona, s New Mexico, sw Texas||Eriogonum jamesii var. undulatum|
|1||Leaf margins plane, not crisped; flowers 4-8 mm; e Arizona, c and s Colorado, wc Kansas, New Mexico, w Oklahoma, n and w Texas||> 2|
|2||Inflorescences compound-umbellate; e Arizona, c and s Colorado, New Mexico, w Oklahoma, n and w Texas||Eriogonum jamesii var. jamesii|
|2||Inflorescences simple-umbellate; wc Kansas||Eriogonum jamesii var. simplex|