Plants 10-100 cm. Stems spreading to ascending or erect, green when young, highly branched, glabrous, gland-dotted (sometimes in pits), resinous. Leaves ascending-spreading; blades cuneate to spatulate, 2-25 × 2-16 mm, midnerves evident or faint, (margins usually flat) apices rounded, obtuse, or retuse, sometimes mucronate, faces glabrous, gland-dotted (in pits), thickly resinous; axillary leaf fascicles rarely present . Heads usually borne singly, sometimes in rounded, cymiform arrays (to 5 × 8 cm). Peduncles 2-10 mm (bracts 0-10+, scalelike). Involucres turbinate to narrowly campanulate, 6-12.5 × 4-14 mm. Phyllaries 20-60 in 3-7 series, tan, ovate to lanceolate, 2-6 × 0.5-2.5 mm, unequal, mostly chartaceous, sometimes each with herbaceous subapical patch, midnerves evident on proximal 1 / 2 or throughout, subapical resin ducts 0 or slightly darker, thickened and expanded, (margins membranous, weakly lacerate) apices acute to acuminate or obtuse, abaxial faces glabrous. Ray florets 0(-7); laminae 3-4.3 × 1-1.5 mm. Disc florets 7-70; corollas ca. 5.5 mm. Cypselae tan to brown, turbinate, 2.5-3 mm, sericeous to villous; pappi off-white to brown, 6.5-8 mm. 2n = 18.
Variety spathulata extends into Mexico. It is reported to hybridize with Ericameria nauseosa.
FNA 2006, Wiggins 1964
Common Name: cliff goldenbush Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Low rounded or flat-topped shrub, 10-100 cm tall; stems spreading to ascending or erect, green when young, highly branched, glabrous, gland-dotted (sometimes in pits), resinous. Leaves: Alternate; sessile or tapering to a short petiole; blades ascending-spreading, 2-25 mm long by 2-16 mm wide, spatulate to widely wedge shaped with a broad round tip; faces glabrous, thickly resinous; axillary leaf fascicles occasionally present. Flowers: Flower heads yellow, usually discoid, solitary or arranged in rounded, cymiform arrays, on peduncles 2-10 mm long; involucre (ring of bracts wrapped around the flower head) top-shaped to narrowly bell-shaped, 6-12 mm high, the bracts (phyllaries) 20-60 in 3-7 unequal series, ovate to lanceolate, mostly tan and papery but with an herbaceous subapical patch and lower midnerve; ray florets usually absent but sometimes up to 7 present, the laminae (ray petals) 4 mm long, yellow; disc florets 7-70, widely spreading, the corollas 5 mm long, yellow. Fruits: Achenes tan to brown, top-shaped, 3 mm long, sericeous to villous, topped with a pappus of off-white to brown bristles, 6-8 mm long. Ecology: Found on rocky slopes, often on canyon walls and among rocky outwash slopes from 2,500-6,000 ft (762-1829 m); flowers late summer and fall. Distribution: s CA and s NV to sw NM; south to n MEX (Baja California) Notes: Var. spathulata is the most common in the region, distinguished by the leaves, which are on petioles and have blades that are spatulate, 12-25 mm long by 4-16 mm wide, with obtuse tips that sometimes have a notch on the end; mostly discoid flower heads, 8-11 mm by 5-7 mm, with phyllaries bearing evident midnerves throughout. Look for it in the middle elevations, especially below the Mogollon Rim in Arizona. Ethnobotany: Unknown, but other species in the genus have uses. Etymology: Eric- is ancient root for heath or broom, and amari means bitter; cuneata means wedge-shaped. Synonyms: Haplopappus cuneatus, Aster cuneatus, Chrysoma cuneata, Aplopappus cuneatus Editor: SBuckley 2010; AHazelton 2016