WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

This widespread gangly plant stands 1–3-feet tall with erect, pencil-thin stems. Silver-gray, woolly hairs densely cover the stems and leaves. Flowering stems branch at the top with small, spreading clusters of tiny white flowers. Note that leaves grow all the way up the stem, but basal leaves usually wither by flowering.


FLOWERS: April–November. Dense, very hairy, open to flattened or umbrella-shaped clusters of flowers produce a showy bouquet on the branch tips. The 1/8-inch (3 mm) wide flowers have two rows of white to pink-tinted, petal-like sepals. Dried flowers are reddish-brown.


LEAVES: Basal and alternate on stem. The basal rosette of leaves usually withers by blooming. Alternate leaves, dense on lower stem and fewer upward, have 1/8–1/4-inch (3–6 mm) stems (petioles) and oblong to club-shaped blades 3/8–1 3/4-inches (10–45 mm) long by 1/8–5/8-inch (3–15 mm) wide, with one prominent vein. Margins are entire or with a few rounded teeth and may slightly curl under. Small leaf clusters often grow in the leaf axils. White, woolly, tangled tufts of hairs cover the stems and both leaf surfaces.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly soils; fields, grasslands, roadsides, disturbed areas, sage-mesquite shrublands, pinyon-juniper-ponderosa woodlands.


ELEVATION: 3,800–7,200 feet.


RANGE: Widespread in all states between Mississippi River and Rocky Mountains.


SIMILAR SPECIES: NM has about 43 species of buckwheats varying from 6-inches to 4-feet tall. Winged Buckwheat, E. alatum, widepread in similar habitat, reaches 4-feet tall and has tiny, yellow flowers and a persistent basal rosette. Redroot Buckwheat, E. racemosum, extending into higher elevations, has a single, leafless stem with several erect upper spike-like flowering branches and a persistent rosette of spoon-to spatula-shaped leaves.


NM COUNTIES: Statewide at low- to mid-elevation habitats except Mora, San Juan, Sierra.

 

ANNUAL  BUCKWHEAT

ERIOGONUM  ANNUUM

Buckwheat Family, Polygonaceae

Annual herb

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