©The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
December 2004; August 2006, Oct 2011, Dec 2013, July 2014, June 2016

Eriophyllum ambiguum
S Sierra Nevada, Kern Co., CA
Apr 2005


Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum
Kern Co., East slopes of Greenhorn Mts, CA, Old State Rd, roadside, in montane chaparral with canyon live oak, sticky manzanita, flannel bush
June 3, 2016

Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum
San Bernardino Co., Morongo Valley, CA.
Spjut 2144, Mar 1972


Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum

Kern Co., California. Old Kern Canyon Rd, 27 May 2016


Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum
San Diego Co., near Valley Center, CA.  June 2006.  Photo by Susan Spjut


Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. laxiflorum

Kern Co., Just west of Greenhorn Pass along Hwy 155, roadside, in ponderosa pine forest, June 3, 2016


Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. laxiflorum
Piute Mts., Burned Piute Cypress Grove, 5,300 ft.
CNPS Kern Chapter Field Trip, June 1, 2013. Revisited


Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. laxiflorum

Kern Co., California. Old Kern Canyon Rd, 27 May 2016





Eriophyllum jepsonii
S Sierra Nevada, Kern Co.,
Piute Mt., CA, 30 Apr 2005

Eriophyllum jepsonii
Western Transverse Ranges, Kern Co., Cerro Noroeste (Mt. Abel), CA, 29 June 2016

Eriophyllum lanatum var. achillaeoides
Cascade Mts., Siskiyou Co, CA
10 June 2008


Eriophyllum lanatum var. hallii

Kern Co.: San Emigdio Mts.,
Wind Wolves Preserve
CNPS Chapter Field Trip
May 11, 2013


Eriophyllum lanatum
Trinity River Canyon, CA
Spjut, Edson & Miles 3403, May 1973
Erioflorin (KB, PS 127), eriolangin (PS 128) and eriolanin (KB PS 152) were isolated by Kupchan (Hartwell 1976)


Eriophyllum lanatum var. lanceolatum
Marble Mts. Wilderness, CA
Marble Mt, July 1987




Eriophyllum lanatum var. lanceolatum
Siskiyou Co., Scott Valley, CA
10 June 2008, Spjut & Burchstead 16340


Eriophyllum lanosum
Coyote Mt., Pima Co.,  AZ
Spjut 3319, Apr 1973

Eriophyllum pringlei
Kern Co.: Sierra Nevada, Pacific Crest Trail,
north of Kelso Valley, 12 May 2011

Eriophyllum staechadifolium
Bluffs above beach just north of Bodega Bay, Sonoma Co., CA, August 2006


Eriophyllum staechadifolium
Mattole Beach, Humboldt Co., CA
June 2002, Spjut 14872


Eriophyllum wallacei
California. Kern Co. Southeastern Sierra Nevada just north of Tehachapi Mts., bordering the Mojave Desert, ridges east above Sand Canyon Road, Pine Tree Canyon Rd, open flats in pinyon-alvord oak-antelope bush woodland. Both yellow and white ray flowered forms growing together. 26 Apr 2010



Eriophyllum wallacei
Mojave Desert, NV, Spjut 15228,
CA, Morongo Valley, Spjut 3277



Eriophyllum wallacei
Mojave Desert, Inyo Co., hills north
of Bishop, CA.  Photo by Susan Spjut
May 2006


Trees and Shrubs of Kern County (Sep 2012, Dec 2013; revised Jun 2016 )

Eriophyllum. Shrubs, subshrubs, herbaceous perennials, or annuals; stems covered with woolly hairs; leaves alternate, entire or shallow to deeply divided, woolly on both surfaces to green on upper surface; flower heads terminal, involucres with 4–13+ bracts in a single rank, overlapping along margins (except E. latilobum); ray and disk flowers yellow (rays white in herbaceous species, rarely absent in perennial species); cypselae with flattened hyaline scales (rarely absent) shorter than the pericarpium, appearing irregularly torn along apex (erose); pericarpium stake-like to club-shaped, curved to straight, flattened to angled, hairy or glabrous. 13 spp. western North America.  Several species collected from California (E. confertiflorum, E. lanatum) showed antitumor activity in the NCI screen before 1980; a sesquiterpene isolated from E. confertiflorum was moderately active in the P-388 Leukemia assay (Cassady & Suffness 1980). Flowers of E. lanatum used as a love charm by the Chehalis; leaves rubbed on the face by the Skagit to prevent chapping (Moerman); “fuzz” of E. confertiflorum applied to skin to treat rheumatism, scraped off stems using fingernails into a ball, three fuzz balls placed in succession on the affected parts, each burned with fire, causing blisters (Jaeger 1941).

     The genus Eriophyllum has been interpreted to include as many as 45 species (Rydberg, Flora North America 34, 1915), or as few as eleven species (Constance 1937), many of which were previously treated in other genera (Jepson 1925; Constance 1937; Abrams & Ferris 1960); including varieties, a total of 157 different scientific names prior to 1937 (Johnson & Mooring, FNA Vol. 21: 255, 2009).  Varieities of E. confertiflorum distinguished here by arrangement of flower heads more than by their number (JM2).

Key to Species and Varieties of Eriophyllum

1.  Most flower heads in clusters of 3 or more per stem, on relatively short
peduncles, usually < 4 cm; ray flowers when present commonly 4–6 (-8)
per head..................................................... ........... ............................................ 2

1.  Flower heads 1 (solitary), or as many as 3 per stem in E. lanatum var.
grandiflorum, or up to 5 per stem in E. jepsonii, on longer peduncles,
4–30 cm; ray flowers when present usually 8–13 (rarely 5 in var.
integrifolium, or 4 in E. jepsonii)............... ......................................................... 4


2. Flower heads  ± lax in flat-topped arrays, the heads often separate from one
another, the rays (usually present) of many heads not overlapping with the
disk of adjacent flowers.... .......... Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. laxiflorum

2. Flower heads tightly clustered in ± hemisperhical array, the floral heads
touching one another or rays reaching the disk of adjacent flowers................... 3


3. Heads 310; leaves opposite below (at least in the type)
...... ................................... ...........  Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. tanacetiflorum

3. Heads 1030; leaves all alternate..... Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. confertiflorum


4. Ray flowers usually 4–8; leaves entirely linear or divided into linear
segments; foothill woodland, reported from Contra  Costa to San Benito
counties, observed and photographed in Kern County on north slope of
Piute Mt, 30 Apr 2005; and on Cerro Noroeste (29 Jun 2016). Eriophyllum jepsonii

4. Rays usually 8–13; leaves entire, irregularly toothed or divided
into broad  segments or lobes......................................... Eriophyllum lanatum-5


...... 5. Leaves opposite below, divided into segments; disk flowers
bald........... ; Tehachapi Mts; San Emigdio Mts (Windwolves Preserve) var. hallii

...... 5. Leaves alternate, entire to toothed distally; disk flowers glandular
or glandular hairy on the tube................... ........... ............................................. 6


6.  Ray flowers usually 8; Greenhorn Mts........ Eriophyllum lanatum var. integrifolium

6.  Ray flowers 9–13............................ ..................................................................... 7


7. Leaves becoming wider from base to mid region or beyond, entire
or shallowly indented, margins not rolled under, gray green,
surfaces equally hairy; occasional, Greenhorn
Mts................................................ ........... Eriophyllum lanatum var. obovatum

7. Leaves uniformly narrow or widest at base, entire or deeply divided,
revolute along margins; green or less hairy above. ............................................. 8


8. Disk relatively broad, nearly equal to length of ray flowers; pappus
< 0.2 mm or absent; Greenhorn Mts......... Eriophyllum lanatum var. croceum

8. Rays conspicuously longer than diameter of disk;
pappus 0.5–1.5 mm; not recognized in Kern
County...... ........... ................................... Eriophyllum lanatum var. grandiflorum


Eriophyllum confertiflorum (Bahia confertiflora DeCandolle 1836) A. Gray 1883 var. confertiflorum. Golden yarrow Subshrub with branched woody stems and erect herbaceous flowering stems; leaves alternate, 3–5 pinnately lobed, green above, whitish hairy below, revolute along margins. Flowers Apr–Aug, yellow in tightly clustered heads, the arrays ± hemispherical with >10 heads. Fruit: cypselae with a 4-angled pericarpium 2–3 mm, and with 5 terminal short equal scales ~ 1 mm. Central Coast Ranges and Sierra foothills south to El Rosario in Baja California Norte, also in the Channel Islands and on Isla Cedros. Type from California without specific location. Kern Co.: Common in the cismontane Upper Sonoran shrubby associations.  It occurs east of the mountains at the head of canyons north of Walker Pass and along the high ridges north of Cameron” (Twisselmann), 290–2,622 m (CCH).  Many other varieties formerly recognized are also synonyms (Munz 1959) with the exception of the following, which has not been recognized to occur in Kern County (JM2, Moe 2016).

Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. laxiflorum A. Gray 1884. Similar to the typical variety, stems slender, leaves generally narrow; flower heads typically in terminal umbellate clusters of relatively fewer heads (<11) on longer peduncles, 1–3 cm, but here also interpreted to include variously shortly branched arrays with longer and shorter peduncles in ± a flat-topped (corymbose) arrangement. Kern Co.: Common along road margins in woodlands and forest of the Greenhorn Mts., Kern Canyon, on the north slope of Piute Mts., and undoubtedly elsewhere. 

            Twisselmann regarded Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. laxiflorum  as a “form with loose inflorescences that…grows at the Piute cypress grove on Black Mountain 2.9 miles west of Wofford.”  He cited “T8468,” which in CCH (accessed 25 Jun 2016) include duplicates in four herbaria, identified var. confertiflorum in SBBG and JEPS, or only to species in CAS and RSA. The variety has been recognized to occur in the mountains of Santa Lucia, Tehachapi, and southern California (Abrams & Ferris 1960), “the heads umbellate or subumbellate” (Jepson 1925), the type possibly from the Santa Lucia Mts. This has since been regarded a synonym of var. confertiflorum (Mooring, FNA 21: 361. 2006); however, it seems appropriate to recognize var. laxiflorum in view of plants in Kern County that key to var. tancetiflorum, which reportedly differs in having slightly larger flowers (Dale & Mooring in JM2). Jaeger (1941) shows an illustration he referred to as var. laxiflorum that compares favorably with plants in Kern County in the corymbose arrangement of flower heads.  Taxonomic emphasis on arrangement of flower heads, rather than number of heads (JM2), might lead to recognizing more varieities; specimens collected by Douglas and Coulter at BM have the umbellate type, which may not occur in Kern County.

Eriophyllum confertiflorum var. tanacetiflorum (E. tanacetiflorum Greene 1889, “heads 3 to 7, nearly or quite sessile at the summit of a simple stem”; “rays none.”) Jepson 1925 (“2 ½  ft high; lvs ½ to 1 ½ in long”). In JM2 (Mooring) distinguished from var. confertiflorum by fewer heads (<11), larger involucres, 3–5 mm diam, and larger disk flowers, 3.5–4.0 mm. Type: “Wooded hills of Calaveras County, Calif., between Sheep Ranch and Murphy’s. June 1889” (US: Isotype!, Catalog No.: 47411 Barcode: 00124739).  Variety tanacetiflorum reportedly occurs in the northern and central Sierra Nevada Range in woodlands within a relatively narrow range of elevation, 600–800 m (JM2). Plants in Kern County, such as observed in the Greenhorn and Piute mountains, key in the Jepson manuals (JM1, JM2, and eFlora) to var. tanectiflorum based on flower arrays having fewer than 10 flower heads and by having longer peduncles, compared to the typical variety; however, it does not appear to be tanectiflorum when compared to the type specimen, while other key characters that involve the size of the  flower heads and the flowers themselves, a difference of 1–2 mm, have not been studied in detail.

            The isotype for var. tanacetiflorum notably differs in several features from that circumscribed by Abrams & Ferris (1960, a species variant of E/ jepsonii) and by Mooring in JM2 (2012). These include opposite leaves below the middle (type), in contrast to entirely alternate as shown in illustrations for var. confertiflorum (Abrams & Ferris 1960; JM2, not Jepson 1925), which differences in leaf arrangement were not mentioned; the disk flowers reported to number from 35 to 75 (Mooring in JM2), when fewer than 20 are evident in the type, and the longer peduncle–to 2.5 cm, a key character, whereas both varieties are recognized to have nearly sessile flower heads. The absence of ray flowers (type), which is considered a variable feature of the species, is indicated in Abrams & Ferris (1960), but only noted for var. confertiflorum in Mooring (JM2). This variety has been found to be an “octoploid,” and thought to be a hybrid between the typical varieity and E. lanatum (Mooring 2001, JM2).

Eriophyllum jepsonii Greene 1891. Jepson's sunflower. Similar to the preceding in the unequl pappus, differing in larger flowers with arrays of 1–5 flower heads on longer peduncles, 4–14 cm; flowering Apr–May; cypselae with a curved 4-angled pericarpium 3 mm long, and with unequal scales. Scattered locations from  Inner Central Coast Ranges near Coalinga to South Coast Ranges, and Piute Mts. Type from Alameda Co., between Arroyo Mocho and Arroyo Valle. Kern Co.  Piute Mt. (Spjut photo, www.; Cerro Noroeste (Mt. Abel). Apparently of local occurrences.

            An image of Eriophyllum jepsonii (Spjut, worldbotanical/ from Piute Mt. clearly shows flower heads in arrays varying from one 1 to 5 on peduncles longer than 2.5 cm, and having 5–6 rays per head, along with white hairy stems and linear leaf segments that are rolled under and white beneath, all of which agree with E. jepsonii. The species was originally described as entirely woody but in JM2 it includes plants woody only near base. 

Eriophyllum jepsonii was previously reported in CCH from near Fort Tejon, Grapevine Creek Watershed, on decomposed granite, 3,300 ft, based on Benson 3599 (POM288348, also in DS), subsequently identified E. confertiflorum var. confertiflorum.  Another southern collection from Fresno County (Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 26, 2016) is indicated to be questionable. Eriophyllum jepsonii, and also E. confertiflorum var. tanacetiflorum are considered “octoploids” (Mooring 2001) within a ± defined geographical range (Jepson eFlora l.c.), while it also seems conceivable that diploid individuals could have the same characteristics outside the geographical octoploid range.

Eriophyllum lanatum  (Actinella lanata Pursh 1814) J. Forbes 1833 var. croceum (Greene 1895) Jepson 1925. Perennial with short woody base extending shortly along ground before ascending upwards, or stoloniferous; leaves widest above mid region, 2–5 cm in length, lobed or indented along margins, especially above mid region, lobes often short, as wide as long,  long tapered to base, abruptly tapered to apex from widest part, green above (balding with age), white hairy underneath; flowers Apr–Aug, golden yellow to pale orange, heads on penduncles 8–13 cm, rays 12–13, disk relatively broad, with 100 or more disk flowers; fruit an achene, pappus absent or nearly so. Dry pine forests below 6500 ft, Sierra Nevada from Butte County to Kern County just north Greenhorn Pass. Kern Co.: CCH—Greenhorn Mts.: just below Sunday Peak, Goeden & Teerink, 12 Jun 1990 (UCR); Portugese Pass Road, 3.0 miles north of Greenhorn Pass, Twisselmann 23 July 1957 (CAS).

Eriophyllum lanatum var. grandiflorum (Eriophyllum caespitosum Douglas ex Lindley 1828 var. grandiflorum A. Gray 1883) Jepson 1901. Short-lived perennial < 1m; leaves entire and ± linear to pinnately divided, 3–8 cm long; flowers May–Jul, yellow; stalk of flower heads swollen; involucre 8–10 mm; rays 12–13.  Dry rocky sites in Valley and foothill woodland below 6,000 ft; occasional from southern Oregon to Del Norte and Siskiyou Cos. to Mendocino Co., and common in Sierra Nevada from Shasta Co. to Mariposa Co., and a notable disjunct record reportedly once collected on Isla Guadalupe off the coast of Baja California Norte. Type from Sacramento Valley, CA.  Changed by curators to var. integrifolium.

Eriophyllum lanatum var. hallii Constance 1934.  Fort Tejon woolly sunflower. Perennial with thin pinnately lobes leaves, opposite below, 2–5 cm long; flowers Jun–Jul, yellow; involucre 8–10 mm; rays 8–9. Rare, Tehachapi Mts. near Ft. Tejon, rocky canyon 0.5 mi west of the fort, 3,500 ft (type locality); 5.3 km northeast of Castaic Lake, 3 km south of Pastoria Creek, north-facing road-cut, 1,295 m (A. Parikh, N. Gale 3130, SBBG in CCH); San Emigdio Mts., Wind Wolves Preserve,  CNPS Chapter Field Trip, May 11, 2013 (image,

Eriophyllum lanatum var. integrifolium (Trichophyllum integrifolium Hooker 1833) Smiley 1921. Taprooted shrub with many stems from base; leaves widest above mid region, entire to 3–5 lobed, 1–5 gm long, plane to slightly revolute along margins; heads mostly single on peduncles 3–10 cm; ray flowers usually 8 (5–10); widely distributed in western US, sagebrush scrub, conifer forests, alpine fields. Kern Co.: Greenhorn Mts., rare. CCH: 6,004 ft  (Greenhorn Mts., D. F. Howe 1659, SD, previously identified var. grandiflorum); 5.9 miles east of summit (Hardham, 10 Jun 1957, CAS).

Eriophyllum lanatum var. obovatum (Eriophyllum obovatum Greene 1895) H. M. Hall 1907. Common woolly sunflower. Short-lived perennial with entire to distally toothed densely woolly leaves, 1–5 cm long; flowers Jun Jul, yellow, in solitary heads on often swollen peduncles (stalk)) below involucre 7–10 mm high; rays 12–13. San Bernardino Mts. north to the southern Sierra Nevada. Kern Co.: “Occasional on rocky slopes in the ponderosa pine forest in the Greenhorn Range, becoming rare in the southern Sierra Nevada of Tulare County” (Twisselmann), 1,798–2,073 m (CCH), Palmer 7–15, Jun 1888 (US).


References on Pharmacological Activity in Eriophyllum

Cassady J. & M. Suffness, 1980.  Terpenoid Antitumor Agents.  In J. Cassady & J. Douros, ed., Anticancer Agents Based on Natural Product Models, p. 201–269, Academic Press, NY.

Kupchan S. M., J. W. Ashmore and A. T. Sneden. 1978. Structure-activity relationships among in vivo active germacranolides.  J. Pharm. Sci. 67(6): 865–867.