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See more Eriogonum and  more  and  Eriogonum cernuum.

Eriogonum subalpinum
Eriogonum subalpinum
Eriogonum subalpinum. Synonym: Eriogonum umbellatum var. majus. (Subalpine Buckwheat)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine. Woodlands, shrublands, openings. Summer, fall.
Above and left: Island Lake Trail, Grand Mesa, July 11, 2017.

Colorado plant authority William Weber indicates that Eriogonum subalpinum is "Considered by some to be a variety of [Eriogonum umbellatum], but in Colorado at least, the two are distinct and grow together without mixing". The Flora of North America agrees that in Colorado "Variety majus is distinct from and often grows with var. umbellatum", but the FNA still considers this taxon to be E. umbellatum var. majus.

Eriogonum subalpinum can grow from 8-18 inches tall and to over 36 inches in diameter. The plants shown are about 11 inches tall and 11 inches in diameter. Plants are often in small groupings scattered over a large area.

Notice the leaf-like bracts at lower center and the array of umbrella-like spokes (flower stems [peduncles]) that project upwards in all directions. Also notice that the leaves and stems have a gray cast, imparted by an abundance of white hairs.

In 1853 this plant was named Eriogonum umbellatum variety majus by Joseph Hooker from a collection made by Charles Geyer in Montana near the Flathead River. In 1896 Edward Greene renamed the plant Eriogonum subalpinum.

The Eriogonum genus was named by Andre Michaux in his 1803 Flora Boreali-Americana. "Erio" is Greek for "wool" and "gono" for "knee", referring to the woolly leaves and swollen joints of the type species.

Eriogonum subalpinum occurs just at the northern and western edge of the area this web site covers. See the map below.

Eriogonum subalpinum

Eriogonum subalpinum. Synonym: Eriogonum umbellatum var. majus. (Subalpine Buckwheat)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine. Woodlands, shrublands, openings. Summer, fall.
Island Lake Trail, Grand Mesa, July 11, 2017.

   

Flowers are in spreading umbels and are a very noticeable and attractive cream.

The umbel (umbrella-like) spreading of the flowering branches gives the flower cluster a symmetrical crown.

Eriogonum subalpinum

Eriogonum subalpinum. Synonym: Eriogonum umbellatum var. majus. (Subalpine Buckwheat)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine. Woodlands, shrublands, openings. Summer, fall.
Island Lake Trail, Grand Mesa, July 11, 2017.

 

Leaves are in loose rosettes with oblanceolate to elliptic blades. The lower side of the leaf can be a hairy white, green, or red while the upper side is green and glabrous.

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

Eriogonum subalpinum

Range map for Eriogonum subalpinum