Ann. Lyceum Nat. Hist. New York 2: 241. 1827.
Herbs, erect to spreading, perennial, 1–6 dm, glabrous, often glaucous, grayish. Stems: caudex compact to spreading; aerial flowering stems erect, solid, not fistulose, 0.4–4 dm, glabrous, often glaucous. Leaves basal or sheathing up stem 3–8 cm; petiole 0.4–4 cm, tomentose; blade elliptic to deltoid or ovate to suborbiculate or orbiculate, 0.3–3 × 0.2–3 cm, densely white-tomentose and grayish on both surfaces, margins plane. Inflorescences cymose, open, erect to spreading, 5–40 × 5–40 cm; branches glabrous; bracts 3, scalelike, 1–3 × 0.5–2 mm. Peduncles erect or spreading, straight, slender, 0.6–6 cm, glabrous. Involucres turbinate to turbinate-campanulate, 2–4 × 1.5–3(–4) mm, glabrous but tomentose adaxially; teeth 5, erect or nearly so, 0.5–1 mm. Flowers 1.5–3.5 mm; perianth white to pink with greenish to reddish midribs, becoming pinkish or orange-brown to red, glabrous; tepals dimorphic, those of outer whorl ovate to obovate or cordate to suborbiculate, those of inner whorl narrowly oblong to oblong; stamens included, 1–1.5 mm; filaments sparsely pilose proximally. Achenes light brown to brown, 3-gonous, 2–3 mm, glabrous.
Colo., N.Mex., Okla., Tex., including Mexico.
Varieties 3 (3 in the flora).
|1||Leaves basal; caudex stem blades 0.3-1.5 × 0.3-1 cm; compact; se Colorado, e New Mexico, w Oklahoma, n and w Texas||Eriogonum tenellum var. tenellum|
|1||Leaves sheathing up stems; caudex stem blades 0.3-3 × 0.2-3 cm; compact to spreading; Texas||> 2|
|2||Leaf blades elliptic to deltoid, 0.3-1.2 × 0.2-0.7 cm; caudex stems spreading; c Texas||Eriogonum tenellum var. ramosissimum|
|2||Leaf blades ovate to suborbiculate or orbiculate, 1-3 × 1-3 cm; caudex stems compact to slightly spreading; sw Texas||Eriogonum tenellum var. platyphyllum|