Plants ± cespitose, bluish green, not glaucous, with woody base. Stems erect, (2-)10-30(-40) cm, stipitate-glandular. Leaves: basal leaves persistent; cauline leaves in (4-)5+ pairs, reduced or not; basal blades ascending or recurved, filiform, 1-10(-11) cm × 0.2-0.4 mm, flexuous, herbaceous, apex apiculate to spinose, glabrous to puberulent, not glaucous. Inflorescences (1-)3-35-flowered, ± open cymes. Pedicels 3-25 mm, stipitate-glandular. Flowers: sepals weakly to prominently 1-3-veined, linear-lanceolate, 4-7.5 mm, not enlarging in fruit, margins broad, apex acuminate, moderately to densely stipitate-glandular on herbaceous portion; petals white, oblong-elliptic to spatulate, 4-8 mm, 0.9-1.3 times as long as sepals, apex entire to somewhat erose; nectaries as lateral and abaxial rounding of base of filaments opposite sepals, 0.2 × 0.4 mm. Capsules 5-7 mm, glabrous. Seeds black, ovoid to pyriform with hilar notch, 1.5-1.9 mm, tuberculate; tubercles rounded, elongate to rounded-conic. 2n = 44.
Flowering spring-late summer. Sagebrush plains, pine forests, and mountain slopes to alpine zones; 1200-4300 m; Ariz., Colo., N.Mex., Tex., Utah, Wyo.
We agree with M. F. Baad (1969) in not formally recognizing varieties within Eremogone fendleri. B. Maguire (1947, 1951) recognized five varieties, defined chiefly on leaf and sepal characteristics. While some specimens can be 'matched' to varieties, many appear intermediate between them, forming a continuum of variation.
B. Maguire (1947) noted that Eremogone fendleri is 'probably to be found in the states of Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico'; we have not seen any collections from that area.
FNA 2005, Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougal 1973
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Herbaceous, cespitose perennials, to 30 cm tall, stems stipitate-glandular, slender, erect, bluish-green, tufted from a woody, branched caudex, caudex branches usually few and thick, herbage glandular-pubescent and sometimes sticky. Leaves: Sessile, basal leaves 1-10 cm long, persistent, cauline leaves 2-8 cm long, reduced or not, in 5 or more pairs, margins filiform to subulate, not rigid, apex apiculate to spinose, glabrous to puberulent, not glaucous, slightly to strongly pungent, old leaves persistent after flowering. Flowers: Small, white, with 5 oblong-elliptic to spatulate petals 4-8 mm long, these shorter to slightly longer than the sepals, sepals 5, linear-lanceolate, 4-7.5 mm long, with 1-3 prominent veins and variably stipitate-glandular, tips acuminate, margins scarious, stamens 10, nectaries as lateral and abaxial rounding of base of filaments opposite sepals, flowers borne in open cymes. Fruits: Oblong to globose capsule 5-7 mm long, glabrous, with 3 valves, capsule longitudinally dehiscent, valves split at the apex. Seeds black, ovoid to pyriform with hilar notch, 1.5-2 mm long, surfaces tuberculate. Ecology: Found in pine forests, sagebrush plains, mountain slopes, and alpine zones, from 4,000-14,000 ft (1219-4267 m); flowering April-September. Distribution: Wyoming to Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas. Notes: Look for this species under Arenaria fendleri in older texts. The small pink anthers stand out against the white petals when the plant is in flower. Kearney and Peebles note that this species is highly polymorphic, and that there are 4 varieties. Other sources; (McDougall, FNA) contend that the varieties are difficult to separate as they so readily intergrade and are not worth maintaining. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: The meaning of Eremogone is unknown, while fendleri is named for for August(us) Fendler (1813-1883), a German plant collector in North and Central America. Synonyms: Arenaria fendleri var. porteri Editor: LCrumbacher 2011