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Seed of the Week: Flat-Top Buckwheat

Our mystery seeds from last week were from a plant in the genus Eriogonum. In fact, they came from what is commonly called flat-top buckwheat, most likely a variety or subspecies of  Eriogonum fasciculatum.

flat-top-buckwheat-with-bug

The taxonomy of this group of plants is somewhat complicated. According to Anne Orth Epple's Plants of Arizona, the state is home to some 53 species of Eriogonum.

another-flat-top-buckwheat

Flat-top buckwheat plants feature clusters of small white to pink flowers with deeper pink anthers. The flower clusters stick up from the plants on leafless stems. Note:  the flowers do turn brown on the plant when mature, which some people may find less than attractive.

flat-top-buckwheat-leaves

The short, fleshy leaves grow in bundles.

flattop-buckwheat-underside-leaf

The underside of the leaves (see right side of photograph) are covered with white hairs, giving them a wooly appearance.

This particular plant is a low-growing, perennial shrub. It has self-seeded in our yard and seems to grow well when mixed with other plants.

We planted our flat-top buckwheat to attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. It is a larval food plant/host for the Battoides Blue butterfly (also called Western square-dotted blue).

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