Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Eriastrum sparsiflorum


Higher Taxonomy
Family: PolemoniaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual, perennial herb, shrub, vine. Leaf: simple or compound, cauline (or most basal), alternate or opposite; stipules 0. Inflorescence: cymes, heads, clusters, or flower 1; bracts in involucres or not. Flower: sepals generally 5, fused at base, translucent membrane generally connecting lobes, torn by fruit; corolla generally 5-lobed, radial or bilateral, salverform to bell-shaped, throat often well defined; stamens generally 5, epipetalous, attached at >= 1 level, filaments of >= 1 length, pollen white, yellow, blue, or red; ovary superior, chambers generally 3, style 1, stigmas generally 3. Fruit: capsule. Seed: 1--many, when wetted swelling or not, gelatinous or not.
Genera In Family: 26 genera, 314 species: America, northern Europe, northern Asia; some cultivated (Cantua, Cobaea (cup-and-saucer vine), Collomia, Gilia, Ipomopsis, Linanthus, Phlox). Note: Leptodactylon moved to Linanthus.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert W. Patterson, family description, key to genera, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Robert W. Patterson, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: EriastrumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: WOOLLY-STAR
Habit: Annual, perennial, or subshrub; often woolly, glandular or not. Stem: generally erect, branching from base or above, sometimes unbranched. Leaf: cauline, alternate, entire to pinnately lobed; lobes generally linear or lanceolate. Inflorescence: terminal, head-like or flower occasionally 1, bracted, lightly to densely woolly; bracts leaf-like; flowers sessile or subsessile. Flower: calyx lobes equal to unequal, lightly to densely woolly, sometimes glandular-puberulent; corolla funnel-shaped to salverform, radial or bilateral, white or blue to purple or yellow; stamens fused to corolla at base, equal or unequal, anthers sagittate, pollen white to blue; ovary 3-chambered, style included or exserted, stigma 3-lobed. Fruit: capsule loculicidal. Seed: 1--11 per chamber.
Etymology: (Greek: woolly star)
eFlora Treatment Author: Sarah J. De Groot
Reference: De Groot 2016 Aliso 34(2):25--152.
Eriastrum sparsiflorum (Eastw.) H. Mason
Habit: Annual, 10--31(35) cm. Stem: slender, minutely glandular-hairy, lightly woolly to subglabrous. Leaf: 5--30 mm, lightly woolly to subglabrous, generally entire (rarely 3-lobed) near base, lobes linear to thread-like. Inflorescence: heads terminal, 2--3-flowered, or flowers sometimes 1 in upper axils, heads woolly, peduncles glandular-hairy; bracts woolly, keeled at base, exceeding flowers. Flower: calyx 5--6 mm, densely woolly, lobes unequal; corolla 6.5--8.5(10) mm, salverform or narrowly funnel-shaped, tube 3.6--6 mm, white, throat funnel-shaped, +- 0.4--1.1 mm, white, often with some purple dots, tube + throat 4.1--6.1 mm, lobes 2.4--3.3 mm, +- 1/3 corolla length, very pale blue or lavender to white or cream; stamens exserted 0.5--1.1 mm past corolla sinuses, generally attached +- 0.6--1.3 mm below sinus, equally inserted, free portion 1.5--2.25 mm, equal, anthers 1 mm; pistil (4.6)5--6.4 mm, +- equal to stamens, stigma lobes 0.3--0.6 mm. Fruit: capsule oblong, 4.5--6(10) mm, seeds (1)2(3) per chamber. Seed: +- 2--2.5 mm, tan to gray-brown, angular, oblique at base, 3-sided, somewhat flattened front-to-back, generally with rounded angles, developing slime when wet.
Ecology: Open sunny areas on flats, hillsides, small washes, floodplains, disturbed areas, in scrub, chaparral, woodland; Elevation: 940--2020 m. Bioregional Distribution: s SNF, n SNH, s SNH, WTR, s MP, SNE, DMoj (Coso Range); Distribution Outside California: Nevada. Flowering Time: May--Jul
Jepson eFlora Author: Sarah J. De Groot
Reference: De Groot 2016 Aliso 34(2):25--152.
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Listed on CNPS Rare Plant Inventory

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Citation for this treatment: Sarah J. De Groot 2023, Eriastrum sparsiflorum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 12,, accessed on July 23, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 23, 2024.

Eriastrum sparsiflorum
click for image enlargement
©1998 Larry Blakely
Eriastrum sparsiflorum
click for image enlargement
©1998 Larry Blakely
Eriastrum sparsiflorum
click for image enlargement
©1998 Larry Blakely
Eriastrum sparsiflorum
click for image enlargement
©1998 Larry Blakely
Eriastrum sparsiflorum
click for image enlargement
©1998 Larry Blakely

More photos of Eriastrum sparsiflorum
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Eriastrum sparsiflorum:
s SNF, n SNH, s SNH, WTR, s MP, SNE, DMoj (Coso Range)
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map of distribution 1

(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurrence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.

View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month Flowering-Fruiting Monthly Counts

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).