I drove up, from Kelso Valley Road, in Kern County – looking for Eriogonum breedlovei var. breedlovei, on July 12 th 2014 – to Claraville and Piute Peak with my 27 feet long RV, which was not reasonable but fairly easy and sandy. But, at the end of the day, after getting lost twice on the National Forest Roads, when it was time to return, I decided to go down towards Lake Isabella on the Piute Mountain Road (Saddle Spring Road). It was pretty scary, the brakes were very hot ; and it got more scary when I had to manage a series of hairpin turns, just after Rocky Point. I was almost ready to back up and I understood, then, why the people in Claraville were looking funny at me in my long RV – when I got there. I did a lot of crazy things with this RV, in the deserts and in the mountains of the western USA, but that day, the descent was the most dangerous I ever did with such a vehicle (which is not meant to be used as a 4WD!). It was a very long drop: from 2500 m to 800 of altitude. And when they call it a road, I have seen a lot better in the Aïr desert region of Niger… In this case, no choice, you need to drive the European way, in first drive, to multiply, at least three times, your precious braking time… before the smoke of your arch-burning brakes alerts some lonely ranger on the top of a fire watch tower! I had to stop many times to let the brakes cool down and, that time, I really wondered if I could make it down to Lake Isabella… with the vehicle safe and sound. As I was ready to jump down… with the door opened. I am an Eriogonum Stalker!
Plants herbs, matted, occasionally scapose, 0.2–1 dm tall, 0.8–1.5 (2) dm across; stems matted, with persistent leaf bases, up to 1/5 height of plant, the caudex stems matted, the aerial flowering stems rarely scapelike, erect to prostrate, slender, solid, not fistulose, 0.15–0.6 (0.8) dm long, thinly to densely glandular-puberulent and slightly pilose; leaves basal, fasciculate in terminal tufts, the petioles 0.2–0.6 (1) cm long, tomentose, the blades broadly elliptic, 0.2–0.8 (1) cm long, 0.2–0.4 (0.6) cm wide, densely white-tomentose abaxially, less so and olive green adaxially, the margins plane; inflorescences cymose-umbellate, rarely capitate, 0.5–3 cm long, 1– 2.5 cm wide, rarely capitate, 1–1.3 cm long, the branches dichotomous, occasionally absent, pilose and glandular, the bracts 3, scalelike, triangular, 1–1.2 mm long; peduncles erect to spreading, slender, 0.05–0.5 (1) cm long, glandular or nearly glabrous, rarely absent; involucres 1 per node, rarely 2–4, turbinate-campanulate, (2.5) 3.5–4 mm long, 3.5–4 mm wide, rigid, glandular-puberulent or nearly glabrous, the teeth 7–9, erect or slightly spreading, 1–1.5 mm long; flowers 2.5–3.5 (4) mm long, the perianth whitish to reddish, finely glandular-hairy abaxially, the hypanthium only at base of perianth, the tepals slightly dimorphic, those of outer whorl obovate and obtuse, 1.5–2.3 mm long wide, the apex truncate or emarginate, those of inner whorl cuneate or spatulate, 0.7–1.3 mm long wide, the apex rounded, the stamens exserted, 3–5.5 mm long, the filaments sparsely pubescent proximally; achenes light brown, 2.5–3 mm long, apex sparsely glandular.
Flowering Jun-Sep. Quartz outcrops, conifer woodlands; 2300–2500 m; Piute Mountain and the Owens Peak areas of Kern Co., California.
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