Ethnobotany. According to the book “The Ethnobotany of the Ramah Navaho” (Vestal, Paul A., 1952, Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology), Eriogonum abertianum was used – in decoction – as a lotion for skin cuts of horses and human beings.
Diversity. Jim Reveal did not describe the different varieties of this species. Nonetheless, Raymond Fosberg in “Eriogonum and its varieties” (published in “Madroño” in 1938) described them and the descriptions are posted below the following pictures.
Recent researches. In the Journal of Ecology (September 1993), un article titled “Annual Seed Dormancy Cycles in Two Desert Winter Annuals” describes the annual cycles of dormancy in the seeds of Eriogonum abertianum.
Selon Baskin et al (1993), “Nondormant seeds of the desert winter annual Eriogonum abertianum germinated to 86 and 79% in light at 15/6 and 20/10° C, respectively, but to only 3, I, and 0% at 25/ 15, 30/15, and 35/20 ° C, respectively.”
In Oecologia (1997), l’article “Interactions between winter and summer annuals in the Chihuahan Desert”, Guo and Brown cites Kemp 1983 and Inouye 1991: “The three biseasonal species (Eriogonum abertianum, Haplopappus gracilis, and Baileya multiradiata), germinated in fall and winter, but unlike the winter annuals, individuals survived through the spring droughts (Fig. 1). Although mortality during this period was often severe (sometimes >95%) and the surviving rosettes lost their outer leaves, the surviving plants grew rapidly in response to the first summer rains. In years when mortality during the spring drought was relatively low, the surviving plants, because of their size advantage and well established root system, were often able to dominate the summer annual plant community in terms of both individual plant size and total species biomass”.
Description from Jim Reveal’s Manual. Plants herbs, erect or spreading, annual, 0.5–6 (7) dm tall, hirsute, greenish, grayish, tawny, or reddish; stems with caudex absent, the aerial flowering stems prostrate to erect, solid, not fistulose, 0.1–1 dm long, appressed- hirsute; leaves basal and cauline; basal: petiole 0.5–6 cm long, villous to hoary, blade oblong to obovate, 1–4 cm long, 1–3 cm wide, villous to hoary-tomentose and greenish, tawny, or reddish on both surfaces, the margins plane, occasionally crenulate; cauline: sessile, blade linear, lanceolate, or narrowly obovate, 1–4 cm long, 0.3–2 cm wide, similar to basal blade; inflorescences cymose, open to diffuse, 5–40 (60) cm long, 5–50 cm wide, the branches hirsute, the bracts 3–6, semi-foliaceous, 2–10 mm long, 1–3 mm wide; peduncles ascending to erect, mostly straight, slender, 0.5–6 cm long, villous to hoary-tomentose; involucres broadly campanulate, 2–3 mm long and wide, villous-canescent, the teeth 5, lobelike, usually reflexed, 4–6 mm long; flowers 3–4.5 mm long, the perianth white to pale yellow in early anthesis, becoming reddish or rose, glabrous, the tepals dimorphic, those of outer whorl orbiculate-cordate, those of inner whorl lanceolate to spatulate, the stamens mostly exserted, 1.5–3.5 mm long, the filaments mostly pilose proximally; achenes brown to dark brown, lenticular, 0.6–1 mm long, glabrous. 2n = 40.