Profile of Oregon sunshine — Eriophyllum lanatum

Oregon sunshine — Eriophyllum lanatum — is a member of the sunflower or aster family — Compostitae. This is the largest family of flowering plants in the world, the largest in North America and the largest in the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem.

This family is very important ecologically and includes many dominant steppe species, including sagebrush. Although sagebrush is wind-pollinated, most species in this family have brightly colored flower heads that are very important to native bees and other pollinators.

Oregon sunshine thrives in a variety of habitats, most frequently on dry, sandy sites or fine talus slopes. The plant usually grows low and cushion-like but may be as high as 2 feet tall, depending on water availability. It flowers in the central Oregon high desert and juniper woodland in late spring through early summer.

Oregon Bee Atlas participants have documented 17 different bee genera foraging on Eriophyllum, including several species suspected of specializing on this hardy native.

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