Eriogonum brandegeei
Author: Rydb.


Brandegee wild buckwheat


Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Close up of Eriogonum brandegeei by Susan Spackman Panjabi
Click image to enlarge.

Close up of Eriogonum brandegeei by Michelle DePrenger-Levin
Click image to enlarge.

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G1G2
State rank: S1S2
Federal protection status: USFS Sensitive, BLM Sensitive
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Please see 1997 profile

General description: Eriogonum brandegeei is a mat-forming perennial herb. It is typically 10 to 25 cm tall, and mats have been observed from 1 inch in diameter to more than 2 ft. in diameter. Eriogonum brandegeei has an deep, woody taproot that, along with its spreading habit, leaves it well adapted to surviving on steep, unstable slopes. Plants have been observed on "pedestals," with much of their woody root exposed. Its leaves are erect and densely hairy on both sides. The dense hair gives the plant a blue-green appearance. Eriogonum brandegeei produces leafless, unbranched flowering stalks that bear terminal clusters of white to pink or rose-colored flowers that are 3 to 3.5 mm long. The stamens are slightly exserted from the flower (Anderson 2006).

Look Alikes: Eriogonum brandegeei is distinguished from other local Eriogonum species by its leaves, which are densely tomentose on both sides, and by its unbranched flowering stalk (Spackman et al. 1997).

Phenology: Flowering may occur any time from late June through August, and fruits mature in August or September (Anderson 2006).

[+] Habitat

Habitat of Eriogonum brandegeei by Michelle DePrenger-Levin
Click image to enlarge.

Habitat of Eriogonum brandegeei by Michelle DePrenger-Levin
Click image to enlarge.

Occurrences of Eriogonum brandegeei are limited mostly to outcrops of the Dry Union Formation (in Chaffee County) and lower members of the Morrison Formation (in Fremont County), or to Quaternary strata that are derived from these formations (O'Kane 1988, Spackman et al. 1997, Anderson 2006). The unifying feature of all the known occurrences is the presence of a significant fraction of bentonite clay in the soil (Anderson 2006). Bentonite is derived from the decomposition of volcanic ash, and is a type of shrink-swell, or 2:1 clay. Eriogonum brandegeei is most commonly found on active slopes that can be as steep as 90 percent. It has been also been documented on flat sites, particularly where erosion has deposited clay soil in small basins (Anderson 2006). In general, this species is found on barren outcrops of white to grayish soils within open sagebrush and pinyon-juniper communities. Frequently associated species include: Atriplex canescens, Opuntia imbricata, Bouteloua gracilis, Oryzopsis hymenoides, Aristida fendleriana, Sphaeralcea coccinea, Cleome serrulata, Melilotus alba, Salsola iberica, Kochia iranica, Melitotus officialis, and Bouteloua curtipendula (Johnston et al. 1981).

Elevation Range: 5,715 - 8,648 feet (1,742 - 2,636 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Eriogonum brandegeei in Colorado.
Click image to enlarge.

Colorado endemic: Yes
Global range: Endemic to Colorado; Fremont and Chaffee counties. Six of the nine verified occurrences are located within a 5 by 15 mile area along the Arkansas River in Chaffee County. The other three are about 50 miles away in a 2 by 3 mile area at Garden Park, north of Canon City in Fremont County (Anderson 2006). Questionable reports of E. brandegeei in other areas are considered to be mislabeled (Anderson 2006). Estimated range is 6,828 square kilometers (2,636 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 brandegeei based on several ranking factors. This species was concluded to be “weakly conserved”. From Rondeau et al. 2011.
Click image to enlarge.

The primary threat at this time is considered to be off road vehicle use (Anderson 2006, Rondeau et al. 2011). The species is also threatened by other recreational uses, residential and commercial development (especially near Salida), timber thinning and extraction, mining, right-of-way management, exotic species invasion, grazing, effects of small population size, rust, fire, global climate change, weed spraying and pollution (Anderson 2006). Some threats are more urgent at some sites than at others; however, all sites are threatened by recreational impacts, particularly off road vehicle use. Residential development has encroached on one of the best occurrences. All of the known occurrences are now threatened by human activities (Anderson 2006). According to the CSU Extension Service, a rust species found on some plants in the Cleora site is not a threat as it rarely causes damage to plants (Grant and DePrenger-Levin 2005, Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2005).

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.
    • Anderson, D.G. 2006. Eriogonum brandegeei Rydberg (Brandegee's buckwheat): A Technical Conservation Assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/eriogonumbrandegeei.pdf
    • Anderson, D.G. 2006. Eriogonum brandegeei Rydberg (Brandegee's buckwheat): A Technical Conservation Assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/eriogonumbrandegeei.pdf
    • Colorado Native Plant Society. 1989. Rare plants of Colorado. Rocky Mountain Nature Association, Colorado Native Plant Society, Estes Park, Colorado. 73 pp.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2005. The Second Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium: G1 Plants of Colorado. Symposium Minutes. Available on-line http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/teams/botany.asp#symposia.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2005. The Second Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium: G1 Plants of Colorado. Symposium Minutes. Available on-line http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/teams/botany.asp#symposia.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biodiversity Tracking and Conservation System (BIOTICS). Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.
    • Dawson, C. 2009. Personal communication with Colorado Natural Heritage Program staff regarding BLM rare plant monitoring in Colorado.
    • Denver Botanic Gardens. 2008. Eriogonum brandegeei Demographic Monitoring Study 2004-2008. Prepared for the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management, Colorado State Office.
    • Ecology Consultants, Inc. 1978. An illustrated guide to the proposed threatened and endangered plant species in Colorado. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Lakewood, CO. 114 pp.
    • Grant, T. and M. DePrenger-Levin. 2005. Eriogonum brandegeei Demographic Monitoring Study 2004-2005. Prepared for U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management, Colorado State Office by the Denver Botanic Gardens' Research, Herbaria and Records Department.
    • Grant, T. and M. DePrenger-Levin. 2005. Eriogonum brandegeei Demographic Monitoring Study 2004-2005. Prepared for U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management, Colorado State Office by the Denver Botanic Gardens' Research, Herbaria and Records Department.
    • Johnston, B. C., J. S. Peterson and W. Harmon. 1981. Status Report for Eriogonum brandegei. Unpublished report prepared for Colorado Natural Areas Program, Denver, CO.
    • Johnston, B. C., J. S. Peterson and W. Harmon. 1981. Status Report for Eriogonum brandegei. Unpublished report prepared for Colorado Natural Areas Program, Denver, CO.
    • Kartesz, J., and the Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 1998. A Synonymized Checklist of the Vascular Flora of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. http://plants.usda.gov.
    • 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.
    • Kartesz, John and the Biota of North America Program. 1998. "A Synonymized Checklist of the Vascular Flora of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands". http://plants.usda.gov.
    • 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.
    • O'Kane, S.L. 1988. Colorado's rare flora. Great Basin Naturalist 48(4): 434-484.
    • Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists. 2009. RARE Imperiled Plants of Colorado, a traveling art exhibition. Exhibition catalogue developed by the Denver Botanic Gardens and Steamboat Art Museum.
    • 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. 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.
    • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Arkansas Valley Barrens Site Conservation Plan.
    • 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.

Last Updated

2013-09-04