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.
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.
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.
The short, fleshy leaves grow in bundles.
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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