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. sphaerocephalum. Leaf blades usually oblanceolate, mostly lanate to tomentose on both surfaces, the margins usually plane; inflorescences umbellate or compound-umbellate; perianth bright yellow.
Flowering May-Jul. Sandy to gravelly flats and slopes, mixed grassland and sagebrush communities, juniper and montane conifer woodlands; (100) 300–2000 (2300) m.