©The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
December 2005; August 2006, Dec 2007, Jan 2014

Eremogone (Arenaria) congesta
Marble Mts. Wilderness, CA
Mixed fir and pine forest
5600 ft, July 2006

Eremogone (Arenaria) congesta
Marble Mts. Wilderness, CA
Marble Valley; July 1987

Eremogone (Arenaria) ferrissiae

Kern Co., California. Greenhorn Mts., Sawmill Road, woodland of Ghost pine,  interior live oak, sagebrush, Ephedra viridis, CNPS Chapter Field Trip, 25 May 2013

Eremogone (Arenaria) hookeri
S Wyoming, June 2005


Trees and Shrubs of Kern County (Jan 2014)

Key to Genera (Caryophyllaceae)

Capsules with 6 teeth; perennials; leaves needle-like............................... .Eremogone

Capsules with 6 teeth, leaves blade-like, annual or perennial herbs,
not in Kern County............... ........... .....................................................Arenaria

          Capsules with 3 teeth; leaves needle-like; only annuals in Kern County..........Minuartia

Eremogone. Perennial, habit similar to species of some Polemoniaceae such as within genera Eriastrum, Phlox or Gilia; stems woody at base, wiry, matted but not rhizomatous, or ascending to erect and mostly leafless, or diffusely branched with scattered leaves that are needle-like and crowded near base base of plant; flowers usually white in umbrella-like arrangements or crowded to a head reminsecent of Gilia capitata (E. congesta); petals 5; stamens 10, attached  within a shallow hypanthium; gynoecium 3-carpelled; fruit, 6-toothed, opening from apex along both sutures, often partway (denticidal capsule), teeth spreading to recurved; seeds 1–9, kidney shaped, 0.7–5 mm. 90 spp., northern hemisphere; 14 in North America, 7 species and 6 varieties in California, often found on  ridges; 2 species and 3 varieities in Kern Co that largely intergrade. 

Species difficult genus to identify. Hartman, Rabeler and Utech (FNA Vol. 5, 2005) recommend several flowers be examined under magnification of 20–30× for distinguishing species by their sepal characters of shape and membranous margins, and that when using dried specimens, that the appropriate parts be “boiled up” or “rehydrated” to obtain clear observations. These characters are also applied by Hartman and Rabeler in JM2, but not in the key below.

Key to Eremogone

1.      Flower stems wide spreading and tangled......................      .... Eremogone ferrisiae

               Flower stems mostly erect and closely parallel..................Eremogone macradenia-2

2.      Leaves recurved, 6–12 pairs.................................... E. macradenia var. arcuifolia

      Leaves ascending (or upcurved); 5–8 pairs............ E. macradenia var. macradenia


Eremogone ferrissiae (Arenaria macradenia S. Watson 1882 ssp. ferrisiae Abrams 1944). Ferris’s sandwort. Plants to 1 m in diam, or tall; much-branched like and appearing leafless as  in Bebbia or Arida of the Asteraceae; leaves mostly above base, in 5–7 pairs, needle-like, 2–7 cm, rigid or fleshy, spreading to recurved, blunt or spiny at tips. Flowers Apr–Aug, white to yellowish; sepals 1–3 veined, sword-shaped (widest near base) or elliptic, acute or acuminate, 3.3– 4.3 mm in flower, to 5.5 mm in fruit; petals the same length as sepals or up to 1.5× longer; capsules 6–7 mm; seeds reddish brown to black, 1.3–3.2 mm. On dry decomposed granite of slopes in pine woodlands up to 2900 m, southern region of Intermountain Flora or Great Basin Desert; Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California.  Type from Inyo County, trail to Big Pine Lakes along north fork of Big Pine Creek, elevation 9000–9500 ft. Kern Co.: “Occasaional, sometimes locally common, in the Jeffrey pine forest in the Piute Mountains, in the pinyon woodland on the east slope of Morris Peak  in the southern Sierra Nevada, and in the arid Douglas oak woodland on the east slope of the Greenhorn Range” (Twisselmann); collected largely from Greenhorn Mts., Piute Mts., and Kern Plateau (Bartolas Country), 975–2346 m (CCH).

Eremogone macradenia (Arenaria macradenia S. Watson 1882 var. macradenia. Mohave Sandwort. Plants to 70 cm tall, conspicuously leafy near woody shortly branched nearly leafless base, 10–30 cm or more across; flowering stems mostly erect with fewer leaves above 30 cm, 5–8 pairs, needle-like, 2–7 cm, rigid or fleshy, spreading, blunt or spiny at tips. Flowers Apr–Jun, white to yellowish; sepals 1–3 veined, sword-shaped (widest near base) or elliptic, acute or acuminate, 4.5– 7.2 mm in flower, to 8.0 mm in fruit; petals1.5–2.0× longer; capsules 6–8 mm; seeds reddish brown to black, 1.3–3.2 mm. On dry slopes, granite or limestone soils of pine woodlands, 600–2200 m, southern region of Intermountain Flora or Great Basin Desert; Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California.  Type from near the Mojave River, California. Kern Co.: “Scarce along the granite outcrops at the south end of the Kern Plateau” (Twisselmann, ridge SE of Pine Flat, 28 Jul 1965, CCH-SBBG); also E slope of Greenhorn Mtn, Tillie Crk just below the Nat Forest boundary, 1432 m (CCH-SBBG, Twisselmann 18 Jul 1962) and Tehachapi Mts. (3 mi W of Willow Springs Rd, CCH-UCD, Hughes 16 Jun 2011); Scodie Mountains: Kiavah Wilderness in the Sequoia National Forest; Horse Canyon Saddle, north of Skinner Peak and southwest of the Radio Tower, 1951 m (Gross 8 Jun 2006, CCH-RSA).  “Eremogone macradeniais in the Center for Plant Conservation’s National Collection of Endangered Plants” (Hartman, Rabeler and Utech in FNA Vol. 5, 2005).

           Twisselmann recognized Arenaria macradenia var. parishiorum B. L. Robinson 1894 as a “distinctive variety” from a single collection; “[r]are on the ridge along the east summit of Tunis Canyon in the Tehachapi Mountains (T4600).”  The specimen cited by Twisselmann is not in CCH.  Hartman, Rabeler and Utech (FNA Vol. 5, 2005) stated that the genus Eremogone includes “isolated, morphological types” and “intermediates,” and they cited var. parishiorum as as synonym of E. macradenia var. macradenia, while this taxon has also has been elevated to species status (Eremogone parishiorum (B.L. Robinson) Ikonnikov 1974.  This taxon has been recognized by the petals being shorter than the sepals, having larger glands, and by having fewer than 5 pairs of leaves on stems with longer internodes. Munz (1959) stated it was the most common variety (“form”) in California, occurring also in Arizona and Nevada; however, Abrams mentioned its occurrence as being more limited to the San Bernardino Mts. and Providence Mts..  It is not clear whether the circumscription in FNA of E. macradenia includes that described for E. parishiorum. The type is from the desert slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains.

Eremogone macradenia (Arenaria macradenia S. Watson 1882) var. arcuifolia (Maquire 1947) R. L. Hartman & Rabeler 2004.  Distinguished from the typical variety by having more leaves, 6–12 pairs, that are recurved, and by flowering later in the season, Jun–Jul; endemic to California; ponderosa pine and oak woodlands, 600–2400 m. Type from Mint Canyon north of San Gabriel Mountains. Kern Co.:”Rare in the rocky places at the lower levels of the yellow pine forest in the Piute Mountains (Harris Grade near [ 1.7 miles E of] Landers Meadow, T7443),” 1958 m and “on the south side of Black Mountain in the Greenhorn Range (4700 ft elevation, Howell 37,826) (Twisselmann”; also Eastern Sierra Nevada, Grapevine Canyon, 1220 m (Fraga et al. 19 May 2003, CCH-CHSC); Pacific Crest Trail, saddle between Mount Jenkins and Owens Peak, 2200 m (Fraga & Anderson 18 Jun 2004, CCH-RSA); Grapvine Canyon, 2200 m (Fraga et al. 18 Jun 2004); Summit of Morris Peak, 2195 m (Fraga & Mills 5 Jun 2004, CCH-RSA); 5 mi E of Claraville on road to Kelso Valley, 1676 m (Howell & True, 16 Jun 1971, CCH-CAS); lower part of grade over Greenhorn Mountain, about 5 miles above and west of Kernville, 853 m (Bacigalupi & Ferris 14 Jul 1941, CCH-CAS) Piute Mts. (Landers Meadow); 875–2377.  

Pharmaceutical References

Jia A. Q., N. H. Tan and J. Zhou.  2007. New cyclopeptides in Arenaria oreophila (Caryophyllaceae).  J. Asian Nat. Prod. Res. 9(6): 569–574. “Two new cyclopeptides, arenariphilin G (1) and arenariphilin H (2), were isolated from the whole plants of Arenaria oreophila Hook. Their structures were determined as cyclo(Pro-Ile-Ser(2)-Gly-Ala(1)-Ala(2)-Val-Ser(1)) (1) and cyclo(Pro-Gly- Phe-Ser-Leu) (2), respectively, by detailed spectroscopic analysis.