35. Eriogonum spathulatum A. Gray, Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts. 10: 76. 1874.
Spoon-leaf wild buckwheat
Eriogonum nudicaule (Torrey) Small subsp. ochroflorum S. Stokes; E. spathulatum var. kayeae S. L. Welsh
Herbs, spreading, not scapose, 1.5-4 × 1-3 dm, tomentose or, rarely, glabrous, grayish. Stems spreading, without persistent leaf bases, up to 1/ 4 height of plant; caudex stems absent; aerial flowering stems erect, slender, solid, not fistulose, 1-2 dm, tomentose or rarely glabrous. Leaves sheathing up stem 1-8 cm, 1 per node; petiole 0.5-1.5 cm, tomentose; blade lanceolate to narrowly elliptic or narrowly spatulate, 1-4(-6) × 0.3-1 cm, tomentose on both surfaces, margins plane, rarely crenulate or revolute. Inflorescences cymose, 3-10 × 3-10 cm; branches dichotomous, tomentose or rarely glabrous; bracts 3, narrowly triangular, scalelike, 1-3 mm. Peduncles absent. Involucres (1-)3-6 per cluster, turbinate-campanulate, 2-3(-3.5) × 2-2.5(-3) mm, tomentose, rarely glabrous; teeth 5, erect, 0.5-0.8 mm. Flowers 2.5-3 mm; perianth ochroleucous or pale yellow, glabrous; tepals connate proximal 4, monomorphic, oblong; stamens exserted, 2.5-4 mm; filaments pilose proximally. Achenes brown, 3-3.5 mm, glabrous.
Flowering Jul-Oct. Clay flats, limestone slopes, or gypsum outcrops, saltbush, sagebrush, and mountain mahogany communities, pinyon-juniper and conifer woodlands; 1400-2200(-2600) m; Utah.
Eriogonum spathulatum is fairly common in west-central Utah. The typical expression, tomentose plants with ochroleucous flowers, occurs mainly in Iron, southern Juab, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, and Sevier counties. Plants with pale yellow to yellow perianths are seen infrequently in a few populations; these are always intermixed with plants bearing non-yellow perianths. Mixed populations of plants with either tomentose or glabrous flowering stems and inflorescence branches occur on gravelly limestone ridges in Beaver County; those with glabrous flowering stems and inflorescence branches have been separated recently as var. kayeae. In aspect, these approach Eriogonum artificis, a plant of sandy volcanic soils.