©The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
May 2004, Feb 2013, Jun 2016

Eriastrum densifolium ssp. austromontanum
Tehachapi Mts., western margin of Mojave Desert, CA
Spjut 15379, June 2003


Eriastrum densifolium

Kern Co.: South of Tecuya Ridge, Bradley Canyon, CA
26 June 2012

Eriastrum densifolium
ssp. elongatum

Kern Co.: vicinity of
Frazier Park, CA
22 June 2016


Eriastrum densifolium
ssp. elongatum

Kern Co.: Transverse Ranges, Cerro Noroeste Rd, CA
29 June 2016

Eriastrum densifolium
ssp. elongatum
E Sierra Nevada, CA
Spjut 15356, June 2003


Eriastrum diffusum
Near Phoenix, AZ
Spjut 3312, Apr 1979


Eriastrum diffusum
Near Coyote Mt., AZ
Gentry, Barclay & Arguelles 19918 [April 1963]


Eriastrum eremicum

Eriastrum sparsiflorum
Transverse Ranges, CA
Spjut 15372, Apr 2003


Eriastrum wilcoxii
Mono/Inyo Co., CA, Fish Valley, near NV state line
Spjut 3381, PR-36874, April 1973

Eriastrum wilcoxii
Inyo Co., CA
Spjut 15364, June 2003


Trees and Shrubs of Kern County (Jan 2013, July 2016)

     Eriastrum. Simple stemmed to much-branched annuals or subshrubs; leaves or leaflets of pinnately divided leaves needle-like, alternates; flowers in bracteates or leafy head, blue, white or yellow; calyx often with fine woolly hairs, the lobes often unequal in length; stamens equally attached to base of corolla lobes or at the upper end of the corolla tube; capsule with persistent valves. ±14 species, southwestern North America.  Seven species have been reportedly used in American Indian medicine (Moerman). Three species have been of interest for antitumor activity in the NCI screening program. One subshrub species in Kern County. 

Eriastrum densiflorum (Hugelia densifolia Bentham 1833) H. Mason 1945. Woolly star. Type from California without specific location, collected by Douglas

Key to subspecies (Modified from De Groot, Gowen & Patterson; updated key, Revision III, 15 Dec 2015, by Gowen & DeGroot in Jepson Flora Project (eds.), Jepson eflora (, accessed 23 June 2016). CCH changes below in italics. Note: ssp. densifolium records for Kern County.


1. Corolla 20–25 mm; coastal dunes, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara
cos.  [Jan 2013]; Kern Plateau, Mojave Desert, Scodie Mts,
S Sierra Nevada, Mt. Pinos, Mt. Abel
[Jun 2016]....................... ssp. densifolium

1. Corolla <20 mm...................................................................................................... 2


2. Leaves wide-spreading to recurved; main flowering stems shortly
branched near apex; Mojave Desert.......... ........... ..................... ssp. mohavense

2. Leaves erect to spreading < 60º; main flowering stems with
strictly terminal heads, or with terminal and axillary flower heads
on short to long leafy branches well below apex.. ............................................. 3

3. Flower heads strictly terminal.......... ................................... ssp. austromontanum

3. Flowers heads terminal and from lower leaf axils........................... ssp. elongatum


Eriastrum densifolium ssp. densifolium. Typical woolly star. Many determinations in CCH only to species, and 15 others to this subspecies, suggesting differences in the interpretation of the type for the species, or distribution of the typical subspecies. One specimen collected by Twisselmann determined as ssp. elongatum, a duplicate in another institution reidentified by M. S. Brunell in 1997 as belonging to ssp. densifolium [CCH accessed Jan 2013].  Kern Plateau (Cannell Peak, Theroux 15 Oct 1983, UCR) , Mojave Desert (Hwy 14, 6.7 km N of junction with Randsburg-Red Rock Road, Brunell 25 Jun 1992 [UC], 19 Jul 1993 [HSC, SD, UCR), Scodie Mts (Kiavah Wilderness Area. Horse Canyon/Cane Canyon saddle, southeast of Skinner Peak near Bird Springs Pass, L. Gross 26 Jun 2016 [UCR], S Sierra Nevada/Tehachapi Mts (Tomo-Kahni (Creation Cave) State Historical Park, NE of Monolith and Tehachapi, near intersection of Sand Canyon and Tranquility Roads, Charlton & Wilson 4 Jun 1994 [UCR]; Cameron Canyon, Twisselmann, 6 Jul 1965 [UCR], Mt. Pinos (Mt. Pinos Hwy, 6.6 km E of turnoff to Mt. Pinos Campground, roadcuts on both sides of road, Brunell 24 Jul 1993 [HSC], Mt. Abel (10.3 mi NW fr Mt. Abel turnoff on Cerro Norroeste Rd, Wisura & Brooks 12 Ju1 1989 [RSA], 787–2040 m. CCH accessed 23 Jun 2016.

Eriastrum densifolium ssp. austromontanum (Gilia densifolia var. austromontana T. T. Craig 1934) H. Mason 1945. Woolly star. Subshrub, branching from a woody base, to 30 cm; leaves alternate, pinnately divided into 2–15 needle-like linear leaflets; flowering Jun–Aug; flowers funnel-shaped, 10–20 in a head, with blue petal lobes and yellow tube   Woodlands 3,000–9,000 ft, Southern Sierra Nevada and South Coast Ranges, Transverse and Peninsular Ranges. Type from near Nellie, Palomar Mts., San Diego Co., CA.  Kern Co.: “Common in sandy places and around rock outcrops in the mountains with exception to the Greenhorn Range” (Twisselmann), 960–2,134 m (CCH).

Eriastrum densifolium ssp. elongatum (Huegelia elongata Bentham 1833) H. Mason 1945. Differs from the preceding in having fewer flowers (1–10 per head, rarely 15) and hairy leaves.  Desert slopes along the western edge below 7,000 and southern Coast Ranges, southern Sierra Nevada to Baja California. Type presumably from southern Monterey Co., CA. Occasional on dry slopes in the mountains, mostly below the yellow pine forest in the chaparral, pinyon woodland, and the arid shrub association (Twisselmann),” often intergrading with ssp. austromontanum, determinations sometimes arbitrary (Twisselmann); Sierra Nevada north Kernville, 1 mile west of Greenhorn Summit, Walker Pass, Tehachapi Mts. Cameron Pass, San Emigdio Range, Bitter Creek Natl. Wildlife Preserve, 914–1,767 m (CCH).

Eriastrum densifolium ssp. mohavense (Gilia densifolia var. mohavensis T. T. Craig 1934) H. Mason 1945. Differs from the preceding two varieties in the leaves being strongly recurved with spiny tips.  “Scarce on desert slopes and flats from Red Rock Canyon to the southwestern Tehachapi Mountains where it ascends to the Douglas oak woodland in Bear Trap Canyon” (Twisselmann); Edwards Air Force Base—west side of Leuhman –Ridge, southeast side of Roger’s Lake; 1 mile west of Cantil; 10 miles east of Mojave; Short Canyon; Red Rock Canyon; 640–1,128 m (CCH).