Eriogonum umbellatum var. ellipticum

(Nuttall) Reveal

Taxon 32: 294. 1983.

Common names: Starry sulphur flower
Basionym: Eriogonum ellipticum Nuttall Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 4: 14. 1848
Synonyms: Eriogonum croceum Small Eriogonum stellatum Bentham Eriogonum umbellatum var. chrysanthum Gandoger Eriogonum umbellatum var. croceum (Small ex Rydberg) S. Stokes Eriogonum umbellatum subsp. stellatum (Bentham) S. Stokes Eriogonum umbellatum var. stellatum (Bentham) M. E. Jones
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 5. Treatment on page 347. Mentioned on page 335, 337, 350.

Herbs, often rather compact mats, 1–3.5 × 2–5 dm. Aerial flowering stems erect, 0.7–2(–3) dm, thinly floccose or glabrous, without one or more leaflike bracts ca. midlength. Leaves in loose rosettes; blade usually elliptic, 1.5–3(–4) × 1–1.5 cm, tomentose abaxially, usually glabrous adaxially, margins plane. Inflorescences compound-umbellate, branched 2–4 times; branches thinly floccose or glabrous, without a whorl of bracts ca. midlength; involucral tubes 2–4 mm, lobes 2–4 mm. Flowers 6–8 mm; perianth bright yellow.

Phenology: Flowering Jun–Sep.
Habitat: Sandy to gravelly flats and slopes, mixed grassland and sagebrush communities, montane conifer woodlands
Elevation: 700-2400 m


V5 696-distribution-map.gif

Idaho, Mont., Oreg., Wash.


Variety ellipticum is widely scattered but locally common in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. It has long been known as var. stellatum, the name being altered to var. ellipticum only for technical nomenclatural reasons. This is the northern phase of the species, with compound inflorescences. Considerable variation in plant size is retained within the circumscription adopted here. Plants from northeastern Oregon and adjacent west-central Idaho are large and showy, and it is this phase (called Eriogonum croceum or E. umbellatum var. chrysanthum) that occasionally is seen in cultivation.

Selected References


Lower Taxa

James L. Reveal +
(Nuttall) Reveal +
Eriogonum ellipticum +
Starry sulphur flower +
Idaho +, Mont. +, Oreg. +  and Wash. +
700-2400 m +
Sandy to gravelly flats and slopes, mixed grassland and sagebrush communities, montane conifer woodlands +
Flowering Jun–Sep. +
Illustrated +  and Endemic +
Eriogonum croceum +, Eriogonum stellatum +, Eriogonum umbellatum var. chrysanthum +, Eriogonum umbellatum var. croceum +, Eriogonum umbellatum subsp. stellatum +  and Eriogonum umbellatum var. stellatum +
Eriogonum umbellatum var. ellipticum +
Eriogonum umbellatum +
variety +