Eriogonum ephedroides
Author: Reveal


ephedra buckwheat


Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Close up of Eriogonum ephedroides by Janis Huggins
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Close up of Eriogonum ephedroides courtesy of the Colorado Natural Areas Program
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Ranks and Status

Global rank: G3
State rank: S1
Federal protection status: BLM Sensitive
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Eriogonum ephedroides by Kaye Thorne
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General description: Erect perennial to 20 (35) cm tall.  Stems spreading and dying to the base each year.  Leaves lanceolate, all basal, short, 2-3 cm long, and with petioles up to 4 cm long.  Green stems are noticeable.  Root system is stout and knotty.  Flowers pale yellow to cream colored, arranged in cymes.  The inflorescence is branched from well below the middle of the plant height.

Look Alikes: E. brevicaule has longer leaves (5 cm), a slender root system, and plants are taller (30 cm).


Phenology: Flowers occur from June through October (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012, Flora of North America 1993+).

[+] Herbarium Photos

Images of Eriogonum ephedroides housed at the Colorado State University Herbarium.

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[+] Habitat

Habitat of Eriogonum ephedroides by Janis Huggins
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Found in juniper and sagebrush-grass communities on white shale of the Green River Shale Formation. Associated species include Juniperus osteosperma, Cercocarpus montanus, Forsellesia meionandra, Cercocarpus intricatus, Comandra umbellata, Gutierrezia sarothrae, Stanleya pinnata, Petradoria pebescens, Pseudoroegneria spicata, Chorispora tenella, Halogeton glomerata, Artemisia tridentata ssp. tridenta, Ephedra viridis, Tetradymia spinosa, Cryptantha rollinsii, Juniperus utahensis, Atriplex confertifolia, Agropyron spicatum var. inerme, Ephedra viridis, Pinus edulis, Penstemon pachyphyllus, Eriogonum corymbosum, Eriogonum ovalifolium, Chaetopappa ericoides, Draba cuneifolia, Oryzopsis hymenoides, Lappula redowskii, Cercocarpus ledifolius, Astragalus lutosus, Pascopyrum smithii, Artemisia tirdentata ssp. wyomingensis, Artemisia pygmaea, Corispora tenella, Hilaria jamesii, Kraschenninnikovia lanata, Phox hoodii, and Machaeranthera grindelioides (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).


Elevation Range: 5,315 - 6,092 feet (1,620 - 1,857 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Eriogonum ephedroides in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2012, COMaP v9 ).
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Distribution of Eriogonum ephedroides in Colorado
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Colorado endemic: No
Global range: Rio Blanco and Moffat counties, Colorado (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012) and adjacent Uintah County, Utah (USDA NRCS 2012).
State range: Known from Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Threats include off-road vehicle use, recreation, oil development and road construction.

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.
    • Emrich, S. and E. Painter. 1978. A Field Inventory of Candidate Threatened and Endangered Plants of the Piceance Basin Including Adjacent Areas and a Floristic Survey at Cross Mountain Canyon.
    • Emrich, S. and E. Painter. 1978. A Field Inventory of Candidate Threatened and Endangered Plants of the Piceance Basin Including Adjacent Areas and a Floristic Survey at Cross Mountain Canyon.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee, ed. (FNA). 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Oxford Univ. Press, New York, Oxford.
    • Galatowitsch, S. and S.L. O'Kane, Jr. 1985. Plant species of special concern for state of Colorado.
    • 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.
    • Lavender, A.E., M.M. Fink, S.E. Linn, D.M. Theobald. 2011. Colorado Ownership, Management, and Protection v9 Database. Colorado Natural Heritage Program and Geospatial Centroid, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. (30 September).
    • Reveal. 1968. Madrono 19:295.
    • Reveal. 1968. Madrono 19:295.
    • 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, Western Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.
    • Welsh, S.L. 1979. Illustrated manual of proposed endangered and threatened plants of Utah. Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT. 318 pp.
    • Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, L.C. Higgins, and S. Goodrich, eds. 1987. A Utah Flora. Great Basin Naturalist Memoir 9, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 894 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.

Last Updated

2013-02-13