Plants herbs, matted, scapose, 0.2–1 (1.3) dm tall, 0.5–5 dm across; stems matted, with persistent leaf bases, up to 1/5 height of plant, the caudex stems matted, the aerial flowering stems scapelike, weakly erect to erect, slender, solid, not fistulose, 0.1–0.9 (1.1) dm long, densely glandular-hairy; leaves basal, fasciculate in terminal tufts, the petioles 0.4–2 cm long, tomentose, sometimes also glandular, the blades oblanceolate or broadly elliptic to oval, 0.4–2.5 cm long, (0.15) 0.25–1.6 cm wide, densely white-tomentose and glandular on both surfaces or densely white-tomentose abaxially and greenish-tomentose adaxially, the margins plane; inflorescences capitate, 0.6–1.5 cm long, the branches absent, the bracts 3, scalelike, triangular, 1–3.5 mm long; peduncles absent; involucres 3–6 per cluster, turbinate to campanulate, (2.5) 3–5 (6) mm long, 2.5–4 (6) mm wide, rigid, glandular and sparsely hairy, the teeth 5–8, erect, 0.7–1.4 mm long; flowers 2–4 mm long, the perianth bright yellow to reddish-yellow, occasionally cream, glabrous or glandular, the hypanthium only at base of perianth, the tepals monomorphic, obovate or oblong, the stamens exserted, 3–5.5 mm long, the filaments glabrous or sparsely pilose proximally; achenes light brown, 1.5–3.5 mm long, glabrous.
- Leaf blades oblanceolate to elliptic, (0.15) 0.25–0.6 (1) cm wide; involucres (2.5) 3–4 (4.5) mm long, 2.5– 3.5 mm wide; flowers 2–3 mm long, the tepals obovate; achenes 1.5–2.5 mm long; Sierra Nevada of California and adjacent desert ranges of wc Nevada: Eriogonum rosense var. rosense.
- Leaf blades broadly elliptic to oval, 0.5–1.6 cm wide; involucres (2.5) 3–5 (6) mm long, 3–5 (6) mm wide; flowers (2.5) 3–4 mm long, the tepals oblong; achenes (2.5) 3–3.5 mm long; desert ranges, Nevada : Eriogonum rosense var. beatleyae.
Eriogonum rosense var. rosense : Plants 0.2–1 dm tall, 0.5–1.5 (2) dm across; leaf blades oblanceolate to elliptic, 0.4–1.5 (1.7) cm long, (0.15) 0.25–0.6 (1) cm wide, densely white-tomentose and glandular on both surfaces; involucres turbinate to turbinate-campanulate, (2.5) 3–4 (4.5) mm long, 2.5–3.5 mm wide, the teeth (5) 6–8; flowers 2–3 mm long, the perianth bright yellow to reddish-yellow, the tepals obovate; achenes 1.5–2.5 mm long. 2n = 40.
Flowering Jul-Sep. Granitic or volcanic slopes and ridges, sagebrush communities, montane to alpine conifer woodlands; (2300) 2500–4000 m; Sierra Nevada (Alpine, Amador, El Dorado, Fresno, Inyo, Madera, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Shasta, Sierra, and Tuolumne cos.) California and higher desert ranges to the east in Carson City, Douglas, Esmeralda, Storey, and Washoe cos., Nevada.