Eriophyllum lanatum

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Common woolly sunflower
Eriophyllum lanatum 3575.JPG
Dark Divide in Washington
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Eriophyllum
Species: E. lanatum
Binomial name
Eriophyllum lanatum
(Pursh) Forbes

Eriophyllum lanatum, with the common names common woolly sunflower and Oregon sunshine, is a common, widespread, North American plant in the sunflower family.[3][4][2]


The Lewis and Clark Expedition reportedly saw this plant growing above their camp on the Clearwater River (near present-day Kamiah, Idaho), and collected two specimens of the then scientifically unnamed plant on 6 June 1806.[citation needed] Botanist Frederick Traugott Pursh studied the plants collected on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, after their return to the east. His first classification and naming of the species, as Actinella lanata, was published in his 1813 book A Systematic Arrangement and Description of The Plants of North America.

The name "woolly sunflower" is often used to describe any member of the genus Eriophyllum.


Eriophyllum lanatum is native to western North America, commonly growing in many dry, open places below 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in elevation. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil, but it also grows on rocky slopes and bluffs.

It is most common across California, in chaparral, oak woodland, mixed evergreen forest, and yellow pine forest and other conifer forests, grassland, and sagebrush scrub habitats.[3]

It also grows north through Oregon into British Columbia and east through Idaho into Wyoming, and through Nevada into Utah.[3][5] Its range reaches south into Mexico in Baja California state.[2]


Eriophyllum lanatum is a perennial herb growing from 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 centimeters) in height. The woolly sunflower grows in well-branched clumps. Both stems and leaves may be covered with a woolly gray hair, but some plants lack this hair. The hairs conserve water by reflecting heat and reducing air movement across the leaf's surface. The hairs impart a dusty gray color to the plant.[2]

The leaves are linear on the upper stems; the lower portions of the stem have slender, pinnately lobed leaves.[2]


Flowers are yellow and composite, looking much like true sunflowers, and sometimes grow to 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Both the ray and disk flowers are yellow, with one flower head on each flowering stalk.[2][6]

It blooms from May to August,[3][4]


Varieties include:[2][3][6]


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