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

The common woolly sunflower[3] (Eriophyllum lanatum), also known as Oregon sunshine, is a common, widespread, North American plant in the sunflower family.[4]

Lewis and Clark saw Eriophyllums growing above their camp on the Clearwater near present day Kamiah, Idaho. They gathered two specimens (the plant was then unknown to science) on June 6, 1806.

Range and habitat[edit]

Eriophyllum lanatum is native to western North America, commonly growing in many dry, open places below 10,000 ft, but it also grows on rocky slopes and bluffs. It is most common in California, but grows as far north as Vancouver, Canada and east as far as Wyoming.[5][6] There are historical reports of the species growing in Mexico, but those populations are now likely extirpated.[3]

Growth pattern and form[edit]

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.[3]

Leaves and stems[edit]

The leaves are linear on the upper stems; the lower portions of the stem have slender, pinnately lobed leaves.[3]


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.[3]

It blooms from May to August,[4] and prefers full sun and well-drained soil.

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



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