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Vascular Plants of California
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Eriastrum sapphirinum subsp. ambiguum

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.
Species: Eriastrum sapphirinumView Description 

Habit: Annual, 3--54 cm, erect to spreading, simple or branched from base or above. Stem: herbage viscid-glandular-hairy on upper stems or throughout, subglabrous to white-woolly, often subglabrous in age. Leaf: 4--44(55) mm, glabrous to woolly, glandular or not, entire to 5-(rarely 7-)lobed near base, lobes linear. Inflorescence: heads terminal (rarely axillary), generally 1 per branch, subglabrous to densely woolly, 1--12-flowered, peduncles generally glandular; bracts glandular, sparsely to densely woolly. Flower: calyx 4--8.5 mm, glandular-puberulent, lightly to densely woolly, lobes subequal to unequal; corolla 7--15 mm, broadly funnel-shaped to sub-salverform, radial to somewhat bilateral, tube 2.3--6.1 mm, +- 1/4 or 1/3 corolla length, white to light purple or blue, throat 0.5--3.5 mm, sometimes asymmetric with upper side > lower from differing heights of sinuses, white to purple, sometimes with yellow patches or dots, tube + throat 3--7.7 mm, lobes 3.5--8.3(10) mm, +- 1/3 to almost 2/3 corolla length, lavender, dark to pale blue, white, cream, or occasionally pale yellow, veins sometimes darker, often with dark blue or purple or reddish spots or streaks, abaxial lobes sometimes pale yellow; stamens exserted +- 2.3--5.9(7) mm past corolla sinuses, +- 2.0 mm < corolla lobes to +- 1 mm longer, attached (0.3)0.7--4 mm below sinuses, free portion 5--10 mm, equal to unequal, filaments white to blue to purple, bases sometimes yellow, anthers 1.5--3.25 mm; pistil 8--13 mm, equal to or slightly > stamens, ovules (1)2--7 per ovary chamber. Fruit: capsule 3--5 mm, broadly elliptic, seeds generally 1--4 per chamber, other ovules present but abortive. Seed: +- 1.2--2.4 mm, tan to gray-brown, elliptic to angular.

Eriastrum sapphirinum (Eastw.) H. Mason subsp. ambiguum (M.E. Jones) H. Mason
Habit: Annual, 3.5--25 cm. Stem: erect to spreading, branched from base or above, smaller plants sometimes unbranched, lightly woolly, becoming subglabrous, densely glandular-hairy at least on upper stems. Leaf: (6)7--44 mm, woolly to subglabrous, lower leaves entire to 3-lobed, upper leaves (0)3--5(7)-lobed. Inflorescence: heads terminal, generally 1 per stem, woolly to densely woolly, 3--12-flowered; bract primary axis often equaling or slightly exceeding lateral lobes and calyx, lightly to densely woolly, sometimes glandular-hairy. Flower: calyx 4--5.5 mm, very woolly, lobes subequal; corolla 7--10.4 mm, sub-salverform to narrowly funnel-shaped, slightly bilateral to nearly radial, sometimes only in color pattern, tube 2.6--4 mm, +- 1/3 corolla length, white or sometimes upper tube blue or purple, throat 0.5--1.9 mm, often asymmetric, upper side > lower, white with purple ring in proximal portion, or all purple, or all white, sometimes with yellow or pale yellow patches, tube + throat 3--5.8 mm, lobes 3.5--5.3 mm, +- 1/2 or slightly more of corolla length, pale- to sky- or royal-blue, lavender, white, cream, or occasionally pale yellow, often with darker blue or purple or reddish spots or stripes, veins sometimes darker blue or purple, base sometimes whitish or pale yellow, abaxial lobes sometimes pale yellow; stamens exserted 2.3--5.7 mm beyond corolla sinuses, 1.9 mm < corolla lobes to 1 mm longer, attached (0.3)0.8--2.2 mm below sinuses, free portion 5--7 mm, equal to slightly unequal, filaments generally curving up at tips, anthers 1.5--1.75 mm; pistil 8--9.5 mm, equal to or +- 0.5--1 mm > stamens at flowering, ovules (1)2--4 per ovary chamber. Fruit: capsule +- 3 mm. Seed: liver-brown, +- 2 mm.
Ecology: Open areas on slopes, floodplains, flats near washes, disturbed areas, in desert scrub, arid woodland; Elevation: 390--2200 m. Bioregional Distribution: s SN, SNE, TR, n PR, DMoj. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul
Synonyms: Eriastrum sapphirinum subsp. brevibracteatum De Groot
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)

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Citation for this treatment: Sarah J. De Groot 2023, Eriastrum sapphirinum subsp. ambiguum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 12,, accessed on May 26, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 26, 2024.

No expert verified images found for Eriastrum sapphirinum subsp. ambiguum.

Geographic subdivisions for Eriastrum sapphirinum subsp. ambiguum:
s SN, SNE, TR, n PR, DMoj.
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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 occurence).


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

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).