The best buckwheat - Eriogonum ovalifolium

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Kelaidis
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Joined: 2010-02-03
The best buckwheat - Eriogonum ovalifolium

I know there are dozens of great buckwheats, but surely the queen will always be E. ovalifolium? This lil' sucker is everywhere in the Intermountain West--especially common and beautiful practically anywhere in Idaho, the Sierra-Cascade crest and even the San Rafael Swell, the latter being the source for the plants I grew several years in my dryland garden shown below. My only complaint about this marvellous plant is that it does not persist for me in the dry garden: it will grow lustily and bloom its head off--and then die. In my irrigated rock garden, however, they live much longer. What kind of longevity do you have?

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Amazingly beautiful!  Thanks for posting it, Panayoti.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Peter George
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-03

I have several, and they have persisted for at least 5 years, and in one case, 12 years. Every few years we have an incredibly wet period in the summer, with high humidity, and one croaks, but for the most part they are very nice. Perhaps part of the reason I can keep them here in the Northeast is because they DON'T bloom their heads off, but give me a nice, modest spread of bloom, about 1/3 of the one you have pictured, and save their energy for staying alive!
My longest lived eriogonum is E. douglasii, which I grew from Alplains seed and which has been with me for 13 years, but has never bloomed. Every year I wait, but ..........nothing. Alan Bradshaw thinks that it's because I get too much rain in the summer. Any ideas?

Peter George, Petersham, MA (north central MA, close to the NH/VT borders), zones 5b and 6 around the property.

Kelaidis
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Dear George,
    I find E. douglasii very amenable as well, and have some hoary specimens. But mine bloom their heads off! Where do you live?
PK

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

George wrote:

I have several, and they have persisted for at least 5 years, and in one case, 12 years. Every few years we have an incredibly wet period in the summer, with high humidity, and one croaks, but for the most part they are very nice. Perhaps part of the reason I can keep them here in the Northeast is because they DON'T bloom their heads off, but give me a nice, modest spread of bloom, about 1/3 of the one you have pictured, and save their energy for staying alive!
My longest lived eriogonum is E. douglasii, which I grew from Alplains seed and which has been with me for 13 years, but has never bloomed. Every year I wait, but ..........nothing. Alan Bradshaw thinks that it's because I get too much rain in the summer. Any ideas?

Hello all,

To give further context to Peter George's posting on Eriogonum douglasii, I am posting two photos of said plant growing in Peter's memorable rock garden in central Massachusetts, and a memorable cushion this 13-year-older is!  When I used to see this species in the dry Wenatchee Mts of Washington State, the leaves were involute (edges rolled under) giving more of a needle like leaf (which corresponded to E. douglasii var. tenue... not sure if that variety is still recognized), but the species is variable and always desirable.  My seedling plants in the past were mere pathetic twigs that were short-lived, compared to Peter's beautiful cushion that is worth growing for the cushion of silver foliage alone.  On the right-hand side of the first photograph, is a sizeable E. thymoides, a difficult dryland species growing surprisingly well in Peter's garden. :o

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

PK

Quote:

My only complaint about this marvellous plant is that it does not persist for me in the dry garden: it will grow lustily and bloom its head off--and then die.

You will have to try some of the yellow blooming plants from around Reno. I do not know the variety exactly but I believe it to be E. ovalifolium var. ovalifolium. I will know better after the Eriogonum Society meeting. I collected them from were they grow as inch tall dense mats with no irrigation on acidic, altered andisite deposits.
In the more amiable conditions of the garden they grow into low mounds 2-4inches tall and up to eight inches across. I have ten year old plants that slowly increase in size each year.
I will say that they do not bloom as heavily as the plant in your photo and the flowering stems are more elongated. They do however presist under very dry conditions.

Here are a couple of photos. The first of a garden grown plant in flower. The second of a wild plant. 

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

As I said in another thread Eriogonum is a genus I would like to succeed with! They dislike my wet climate. Any suggestions which species to try?

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Kelaidis
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Joined: 2010-02-03

I think you might be surprised how moisture tolerant many eriogonums are: those from the interior Pacific Northwest often have wet winter conditions to contend with: we lose them in Denver to excessive dryness (believe it or not!)...

Love that yellow ovalifolium, John: I have grown some yellow ones, but in retrospect I think they too needed more moisture than I gave them...save seed!

I'm starting my seed collections already too (Townsendia and Erigeron is all so far...)

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Anne Spiegel
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-26

Why not try Eriogonum umbellatum ssp porteri?  It's an alpine so is probably a bit more amenable to summer showers etc.  It's dwarf, very tight with beautiful green leaves which go through all sorts of color changes in winter. The flowers are yellow but also go through color changes.  I just put pictures of it on one of the threads of this Forum.  I've had it in the garden (New York State) for many years.

Mikkelsen
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-09-04

How about E. soredium?  I have several from Alplains seed and although the largest so far is 1 & 1/2", it is beautifully flat.

Margin of the Great Basin Desert & Wasatch Mountains
4350' (1326m) Elevation; Zone 5a - 7a; 5 miles from the
climate moderating effects of The Great Salt Lake, Utah
J. Mikkelsen

Reed
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Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-10-09

I don't have any myself as of yet but, some of my friends have many different Sp. here in Oregon and with 40-50inches of rain per year (mostly in the winter months). I know most of them can take lots of water if you have great drainage.

Albany, Oregon USA. Pacific Northwest, elevation approximately 200ft zone 8. Winter wet and Summer Dry. Hot enough to ripen the peaches.

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