Eriogonum contortum
Author: Small

Grand buckwheat

Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Close up of Eriogonum contortum by Susan Panjabi.
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Close up of Eriogonum contortum by Terry Bridgman.
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Ranks and Status

Global rank: G3
State rank: S2
Federal protection status: BLM Sensitive
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Please see 1997 profile.

General description: Dwarf shrubs, to 1 dm, the bases gnarled and woody. Flowers yellow, 1.5 - 2.5 mm, in short, glabrous cymes. Leaves 1-3 cm long, scatterd on lower portion of plant, narrowly linear, densely tomentose below, greenish above, strongly revolute. Achenes glabrous, not winged (Spackman et al. 1997, Ackerfield 2015).

Look Alikes: Eriogonum pelinophilum has white to cream or pink flowers, longer involucres (3-3.5 mm), and occurs farther south than E. contortum (Spackman et al. 1997).

Phenology: Flowers May to August (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012, Ackerfield 2015).

[+] Habitat

Habitat of Eriogonum contortum by Susan Panjabi.
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Habitat of Eriogonum contortum by Dave Kesonie.
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Mancos shale badlands, with shadscale and other salt desert shrub communities (Spackman et al. 1997). Associated species include: Atriplex gardneri, A. confertifolia, A. corrugata, Stanleya pinnata, Eriogonum bicolor, Gutierrezia sarothrae, Tetradymia spinosaArtemisia spinescensHilaria jamesii, Oryzopsis hymenoides, Leymus salina, Astragalus flavus and Calochortus nuttallii.

Elevation Range: 4,560 - 5,551 feet (1,390 - 1,692 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Eriogonum contortum in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2015, COMaP v9).
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Distribution os Eriogonum contortum in Colorado.
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Colorado endemic: No
Global range: Mesa and Garfield counties, Colorado and Emery and Grand counties, Utah (USDA NRCS 2015, Colorado Natural Heriage Program).
State range: In Colorado, only known only from Mesa and Garfield counties. Also found in Utah.

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Management issues are largely unknown.  Potential threats include motorized recreation, incompatible grazing, road maintenance and construction, and invasive weeds.

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2015. Flora of Colorado. Brit Press, Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, TX. 818 pp.
    • Harrington, H. D. 1954. Manual of the Plants of Colorado. Sage Books, Denver, CO. 666 pp.
    • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
    • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. 1997. Colorado rare plant field guide. Prepared for Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Colorado Natural Heritage Program.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.
    • Weber, W.A., and R.C. Wittmann. 1996a. Colorado flora: Eastern slope. Revised edition. Univ. Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 524 pp.
    • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich and L.C. Higgins. (Eds.) 2003. A Utah Flora. 3rd edition. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, U.S.A. 912 pp.
    • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich, and L.C. Higgins (eds.) 1993. A Utah flora. 2nd edition. Brigham Young Univ., Provo, Utah. 986 pp.

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