Plants subshrubs, spreading to erect, infrequently polygamodioecious, 0.5–4 dm tall, 3–5 (6) dm across, floccose or glabrous; stems with caudex spreading, the aerial flowering stems erect, slender, solid, not fistulose, arising at nodes of caudex branches and at distal nodes of short, non-flowering aerial branches, (0.3) 0.5–1 dm long, thinly floccose or glabrous, with a whorl of 4–8 foliaceous bracts about midlength or proximally, linear-oblanceolate to oblanceolate, 1–2 cm long, 0.1–0.4 cm wide; leaves in loose to congested basal rosettes, the petioles 0.05–0.3 cm long, floccose or glabrous, the blades linear-oblanceolate, narrowly oblanceolate, or narrowly spatulate, 1–3 (4) cm long, (0.1) 0.3–0.6 (1) cm wide, lanate or tomentose to floccose or glabrous, the margins entire, plane or revolute; inflorescences capitate, compound-umbellate, or umbellate, 1–2 cm wide or 1–5 cm long and wide, the branches thinly floccose or glabrous, the bracts absent immediately below involucre; involucres 1 per node, turbinate-campanulate to campanulate, 3–4 mm long, 2.5–4.5 mm wide, the teeth 6–10, lobelike, slightly reflexed, 1.5–3 (5) mm long; flowers (5) 6–9 mm long, including a 1–2 mm long stipelike base, the perianth pale to bright yellow or cream to ochroleucous, villous abaxially, the tepals monomorphic, obovate to oblong-ovate, the stamens exserted, 4–6 mm long, the filaments pilose proximally; achenes light brown, 3–4 mm long, glabrous except for sparsely pubescent beak.
- Perianth bright yellow; inflorescences umbellate or compound-umbellate; ne California, sw Idaho, n and wc Nevada, e Oregon, and e Washington : Eriogonum sphaerocephalum var. sphaerocephalum.
- Perianth pale yellow to cream or ochroleucous; inflorescences umbellate, compound-umbellate, or capitate, ne California, nw Nevada, sw or wc Idaho, c Oregon, and c Washington.
- Leaf blades usually thinly floccose or glabrous on both surfaces; inflorescences umbellate or compound-umbellate; sw Idaho. Eriogonum sphaerocephalum var. fasciculifolium.
- Leaf blades tomentose on both surfaces, or floccose adaxially; inflorescence capitate or umbellate; ne California to nw Nevada, c Oregon to wc Idaho, and c Washington.
- Leaf blades usually narrowly oblanceolate to narrowly spatulate, the margins plane; ne California to nw Nevada, c Oregon to wc Idaho, and c Washington: Eriogonum sphaerocephalum var. halimioides.
- Leaf blades linear-oblanceolate, the margins usually revolute; nc Oregon, sc Washington: Eriogonum sphaerocephalum var. sublineare.
Eriogonum sphaerocephalum var. halimioides: Leaf blades mostly narrowly oblanceolate to narrowly spatulate, mostly tomentose on both surfaces or floccose adaxially, the margins usually plane; inflorescences capitate or umbellate; perianth pale yellow to cream or ochroleucous. 2n = 40.
Flowering May-Jul. Sandy to gravelly, occasionally volcanic flats and slopes, sagebrush communities, juniper and montane conifer woodlands; 300–2300 m; east of the Cascade Range in central Washington (Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, and Yakima cos.) and central Oregon (Gilliam, Jefferson, Union, Wallowa, and Wasco cos.) east to Idaho (Blaine, Elmore, Gem, Gooding, and Washington cos.), eastern Oregon (Baker, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, and Wheeler cos.), northeastern California (Lassen, Modoc, Shasta, and Siskiyou cos.), and northwest Nevada (Humboldt and Washoe cos.).
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