Eriogonum deflexum


in J. C. Ives, Rep. Colorado R. 4: 24. 1861.

Common names: Skeleton weed
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 5. Treatment on page 394. Mentioned on page 384, 385, 395, 397, 398.
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Herbs, erect to spreading, annual, (0.5–)1–10(–20) dm, glabrous, occasionally glaucous, greenish to grayish. Stems: caudex absent; aerial flowering stems erect, solid or occasionally hollow and fistulose, 0.3–3(–4) dm, glabrous, occasionally glaucous. Leaves basal; petiole 1–7 cm, usually floccose; blade cordate to reniform or nearly orbiculate, 1–2.5(–4) × 2–4(–5) cm, densely white-tomentose abaxially, less so to floccose or subglabrous and grayish to greenish adaxially, margins entire. Inflorescences cymose, open to diffuse, flat-topped, spreading, hemispheric or narrowly erect and strict with whiplike branches, 10–90(–180) × 5–50 cm; branches glabrous, occasionally glaucous; bracts 3, scalelike, 1–3 × 0.5–1.5 mm. Peduncles absent or deflexed, rarely some ± erect distally, straight, slender to stout, 0.1–1.5 cm, glabrous. Involucres narrowly turbinate to turbinate, 1.5–2.5(–3) × 1–2.5 mm, glabrous; teeth 5, erect, (0.2–)0.5–1 mm. Flowers 1–2.5 mm; perianth white to pink, with greenish to reddish midribs, becoming pinkish to reddish, glabrous; tepals dimorphic, those of outer whorl oblong or cordate to ovate, those of inner whorl lanceolate to narrowly ovate; stamens included, 1–1.5 mm; filaments glabrous or sparsely pilose proximally. Achenes brown to dark brown, 3-gonous, (1.5–)2–3 mm, glabrous.


V5 810-distribution-map.gif

Ariz., Calif., N.Mex., Nev., Utah, including Mexico.


Varieties 3 (3 in the flora).

Eriogonum deflexum is common and often weedy throughout most of its range. It is an important source of small seed for birds. The reported use of the stem (M. L. Zigmond 1981, as E. insigne) by the Kawaiisu people as a smoking pipe is incorrect; the taxon in point was actually E. deflexum var. baratum. The desert metalmark butterfly (Apodemia mormo deserti) is found in association with E. deflexum.

Selected References



1 Involucres (2-)2.5-3 mm, narrowly turbinate; peduncles (0.3-)0.5-1.5 cm; stems fistulose; s and ec California, s Nevada Eriogonum deflexum var. baratum
1 Involucres 1.5-2.5 mm, turbinate; peduncles absent or 0.1-0.5 cm; stems not fistulose; Arizona, s and ec California, Nevada, sw New Mexico, w Utah > 2
2 Tepals cordate to ovate; Arizona, s Califonia, s Nevada, sw New Mexico, w Utah Eriogonum deflexum var. deflexum
2 Tepals oblong; ec California, Nevada Eriogonum deflexum var. nevadense