Eriophyllum lanatum (Pursh) Forbes
Common Woolly Sunflower, Oregon Sunshine
Asteraceae (Aster Family)
USDA Symbol: ERLA6
This is an exceedingly variable species with many different varieties. A grayish, woolly, leafy plant with several branched stems ending in short leafless stalks and golden-yellow flower heads. Plants may be erect or sprawling and from 4-40 in. in height. All grow as open, mounds with multiple, spreading branches; white-woolly, lobed leaves; and large (2 in.) yellow, sunflower-like flowers solitary at the ends of stems. It is a shrubby perennial with a woody base.
This common and variable species often colors banks along roads with a blaze of yellow in drier portions of the West. The plant's white hairs, by reflecting heat and reducing air movement across the leaf's surface, conserve water.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual
Size Notes: Up to about 40 inches tall, often shorter.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: CA , ID , MT , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Native Distribution: S. CA (more common northward) to B.C., e. to Rocky Mts. & Great Basin. Formerly also on Guadalupe Island off Baja California, Mexico.
Native Habitat: Open or brushy, dry areas to moist, shady banks
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Dry, sandy soil.
Conditions Comments: For best results, plant in groups and prune the dead branches. Because the species is so variable, it is especially important to choose material from a habitat that matches your site.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Butterflies - attracts orange sulfur, red admiral, comma, and skipper butterflies
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Propagate by seed or cuttings.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Eriophyllum lanatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Eriophyllum lanatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Eriophyllum lanatum
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-12-26
Research By: TWC Staff