Eriogonum coloradense
Author: Small


Colorado wild buckwheat


Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Close up of Eriogonum coloradense by Delia Malone
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Ranks and Status

Global rank: G2
State rank: S2
Federal protection status: BLM Sensitive
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Please see 1997 profile

General description: Densely matted perennial, 6-10 cm tall, and with numerous underground caudices.  Flowering stems are glabrous, scapose, bearing 3-4 involucres per head. Flowers white to pinkish, 2.5-3.5 mm long, stamens exserted. Peduncles are absent. Leaves are narrowly oblanceolate or lanceolate, 3-9 mm wide, green above, tomentose below, and leaf margins are slightly rolled under, or flat (Spackman et al. 1997, Ackerfield 2012, Weber and Wittmann 2012).

Look Alikes: Not likley to be confused with other species in the same range and habitat (Spackman et al. 1997, Anderson 2004).

Phenology: Eriogonum coloradense flowers from July to August and bears fruit into September. Plants are green and visible through September (Anderson 2004).

[+] Habitat

Habitat of Eriogonum coloradense by Delia Malone
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Eriogonum coloradense is unusual in that it has an extremely broad ecological range. It has been documented on every soil texture, slope, and aspect. It has been found on sedimentary, granitic, and volcanic substrates, with Artemisia species (sagebrush) and Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and also with alpine cushion plants. It is found on a variety of geomorphic landforms, usually on talus, fellfields, rock shoots, and ridges, but also on roadsides. Reveal (personal communication 2002) described the habitat as rocky talus on the margins of meadows, grassland communities, high elevation sagebrush, sometimes with montane or subalpine conifers, and on sandy to gravelly flats and slopes. The best information currently available on E. coloradense is from high elevation sites. More work is needed to better understand the habitat of E. coloradense throughout its range (Anderson 2004).  

Elevation Range: 8,714 - 14,258 feet (2,656 - 4,346 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Eriogonum coloradense in Colorado.
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Colorado endemic: Yes
Global range: Endemic to Colorado; known from Chaffee, Gunnison, Park, Pitkin, and Saguache counties. Estimated range is 9,318 square kilometers (3,598 square miles), calculated in GIS by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences (calculated by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in 2008).

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Summary results of an analysis of the status of Eriogonum coloradense based on several ranking factors. This species was concluded to be “effectively conserved”. From Rondeau et al. 2011.
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Recreational uses are considered to be the primary threat to the species at this time (Anderson 2004, Rondeau et al. 2011). The species is also threatened by grazing and its secondary effects, right-of-way management, residential development, exotic species invasion, effects of small population size, mining, rust, global climate change, and pollution. Some threats are more urgent at some sites than at others (Anderson 2004).

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.
    • Anderson, D.G. (2004, October 14). Eriogonum coloradense Small (Colorado buckwheat): a technical conservation assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/eriogonumcoloradense.pdf [March 2006].
    • 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.
    • Neely, B., S. Panjabi, E. Lane, P. Lewis, C. Dawson, A. Kratz, B. Kurzel, T. Hogan, J. Handwerk, S. Krishnan, J. Neale, and N. Ripley. 2009. Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Strategy, Developed by the Colorado Rare Plant conservation Initiative. The Nature Conservancy, Boulder, Colorado, 117 pp.
    • Rondeau, R., K. Decker, J. Handwerk, J. Siemers, L. Grunau, and C. Pague. 2011. The state of Colorado's biodiversity 2011. Prepared for The Nature Conservancy. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
    • Spackman, S., B. Jennings, J. Coles, C. Dawson, M. Minton, A. Kratz, and C. Spurrier. (Web authors: Johnson, C.S. and M. Barry). 1999. 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. Online. Available: http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/rareplants/cover.html (Accessed 2005)
    • 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.
    • USDA, NRCS. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 555 pp.
    • 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.

Last Updated

2014-06-25