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  Click to read about Eriogonum.

     See more Eriogonum and  more  and  Eriogonum cernuum.
More Eriogonum corymbosum photographs.

Eriogonum corymbosum
Eriogonum corymbosum variety orbiculatum (Corymb Buckwheat)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, woodlands, rocks. Summer, fall.
Big Spring Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, September 10, 2005.

Eriogonum corymbosum can be found flowering when it is just a few inches tall and wide to over four feet tall and wide. It looks like a soft, spongy fluff of green when leafed out, of white when in flower, and of brown when in seed. 

The plant enjoys rocky areas of the semi-desert and, as shown here, roots into the tiniest of rock crevices.  The plant pictured is growing about 20 feet down from the top of a two hundred foot steep rock face.  Water washes over the surface and issues from the cracks after a good rain, thus keeping the plant happy.

Eriogonum corymbosum's distinctive rounded mass of flowers makes it easy to spot in the rocks of Canyon Country.  Even in winter one can spot the plant fairly easily because of the numerous dried flower stems at the top of the plant.

A "corymb" is a flat-topped flower formation in which each flower's stem is attached to the main stem at a different point.  "Osum" is a Latin ending meaning "full of" and this plant certainly is "full of corymbs".

Eriogonum corymbosum
Eriogonum corymbosum variety orbiculatum (Corymb Buckwheat)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, woodlands, rocks. Summer, fall.
Big Spring Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, September 10, 2005.

Eriogonum corymbosum was named by George Bentham in 1856 from a collection made by John Fremont near the Grand River (now the Colorado River) near Eagle, Colorado in 1845. In Utah Canyon Country, the plant is sometimes commonly called "Fremont's Buckwheat". 

More Eriogonum corymbosum photographs.

Eriogonum microthecum
Eriogonum microthecum variety simpsonii (Slender Buckwheat)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, woodlands, sand. Summer, fall.
Big Spring Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, September 10, 2005.

Eriogonum microthecum is a lovely, airy shrub that scatters itself widely over large areas.  In the three miles of trail from Squaw Flats to Big Spring, one can see hundreds of plants. Many other areas of the Four Corners region also have an abundance of E. microthecum.

In the Four Corners area, E. microthecum variety simpsonii is typically about 10-20 inches tall and 15-30 inches across at the top, but in some areas of the its range (see the map below), it grows to 5 feet tall and wide.

Leaves of our species are long and narrow, hairy, rolled inward, and sparse. Stems are woody, somewhat shredded longitudinally, and gray with white hairs. Flowers are numerous at the end of the stems and have a raggedy beauty. Leaves, stems, involucres, and flowering stems are almost always quite hairy.

Eriogonum microthecum is a variable and widespread species with thirteen varieties found in various areas of the West.  Flower color, woodiness of stems, growth pattern, leaf shape, etc. are all variable.

Thomas Nuttall named this species in 1848 from a collection he made from "hills in Oregon, east of Walla-walla" in 1834. That taxon is Eriogonum microthecum variety microthecum.

"Microthecum" is Greek for "small seed"; variety microthecum has seeds about 2 mm long and other varieties are only up to 3 mm long.

Eriogonum microthecum
Eriogonum microthecum variety simpsonii (Slender Buckwheat)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, woodlands, sand. Summer, fall.
Big Spring Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, September 10, 2005.

Eriogonum microthecum
Eriogonum microthecum variety simpsonii (Corymb Buckwheat)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, woodlands, sand. Summer, fall.
Big Spring Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, September 10, 2005.

 

Click for more photographs of Eriogonum microthecum variety simpsonii.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Eriogonum corymbosum

Eriogonum corymbosum variety orbiculatum

Range map for E. corymbosum var. orbiculatum

E. corymbosum var. velutinum

Range map for E. corymbosum var. velutinum

Range map for Eriogonum microthecum

Eriogonum microthecum variety simpsonii

Range map for E. microthecum var. simpsonii