In the Mount Trumbull area, on September 19 th 2014, I looked all the evening for this variety but to no avail. So, the following day, I went all the way to the top of Mount Trumbull but I could not find it anywhere either. I was disappointed – because it is a very long way to get in the heart of the Mohave Desert just for one Eriogonum – for which there was not even a single live picture on the web, or in Jim’s Manual, except one of a dry plant in a herbarium. In 1974, Jim wrote: «As I indicated before (Reveal, 1973), the problem with this variety has been the paucity of material for critical evaluation and use as a type. In 1973, Atwood and Larry C. Higgins obtained specimens of this variant for me, and they succeed rather well. In addition, a visit to the Grand Canvon National Park resulted in the discovery of var. cervinum in northern Arizona, and thus the known range can be expanded to include this state for the variety». So, in 2014, there was still nothing available as a descriptive picture. And that is why Jim had requested some for his next edition.
But well, after my unsuccessful escapade on the mountain, I decided to go back to the valley taking BLM 1018 west and, while driving a little way, all of a sudden, my eyes were attracted by a tiny plant in the sand. Here it was (36°24’3″ N / 113°10’52” W) and some of these Eriogonum pharnaceoides var. cervinum were just a few centimeters high and fully blooming. And then, I realized that I had seen some, early in the morning, at the start of the trail going to Mount Trumbull. But I was not awakened to the minute nature of some of the plants, of this variety – which are less than 10 cm high and the tallest being 45 cm, in the Mount Trumbull area. Or I was not awakened at all to the Nature of this variety – awakening requires, sometimes, some kind of a “psychic taming”.
Plants herbs, erect or spreading, annual, 1–5 dm tall, villous, greenish, yellowish-green, or reddish; stems with caudex absent, the aerial flowering stems erect or nearly so, solid, not fistulose, 0.1–0.8 dm long, villous; leaves basal and cauline; basal: petiole 0.1–0.5 (1) cm long, blade linear-lanceolate to linear-oblanceolate, 1–4 cm long, 0.1–0.4 cm wide, white-lanate abaxially, villous and greenish to yellowish-green adaxially, the margins plane or revolute; cauline: sessile, blade linear, 0.5–2.5 cm long, 0.05–0.3 cm wide, tomentose abaxially, thinly villous or glabrous and greenish adaxially; inflorescences cymose, open, 5–45 cm long, 3–40 cm wide, the branches villous, the bracts 3–8, semi-foliaceous, 5–15 mm long, 0.3–1.5 (2) mm wide; peduncles erect or nearly so, straight, slender, (1) 2–5 (7) cm long, sparsely villous or glabrous; involucres campanulate, 1–2 mm long, 2–3 mm wide, villous, the teeth 5, mostly erect to spreading, 1–3 mm long; flowers 1–3 mm long, the perianth white to rose or yellow, sometimes becoming reddish, glabrous, the tepals dimorphic, those of outer whorl oblong-ovate, 2–saccate-dilated proximally, those of inner whorl linear- oblong, the stamens mostly included, 1–1.5 mm long, the filaments mostly pilose proximally; achenes brown to blackish, lenticular, 1.8–2 mm long, glabrous.
- Perianth white to rose; n and e Arizona, w New Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico. var. pharnaceoides.
- Perianth yellow; nw Arizona, se Nevada and sw Utah : var. cervinum.
Eriogonum pharnaceoides var. cervinum: Plants 1–3 dm tall; basal leaves with petioles usually 0.1–0.3 (0.5) cm long, the blades 1–3 (4) cm long, 0.1– 0.25 (0.4) cm wide; inflorescences 5–25 cm long; perianth yellow.
Flowering Jul-Sep. Sandy or gravelly slopes, sagebrush and mountain mahogany communities, oak, pinyon-juniper and montane conifer woodlands; (1400) 1800–2300 m; eastern Lincoln Co., Nevada, southwestern Iron and western Washington cos., Utah, and northeastern Mohave Co., Arizona.