Eriogonum ovalifolium var. eximium

Submitted by Weiser on

Eriogonum ovalifolium var. eximium is one of matforming the high elevation varieties. This variety is commonly known as the Slide Mountain Buckwheat or brown margin buck wheat. It is restricked to the Carson Range along the border of Nevada and California. I have found it growing at elevations of around 8500'-9600' on lose disintegrated granite screes. Mature mats are commonly eight-ten inches across and 1/2-1 inch tall. The flowers are always creamy white-white and set right on top of the foliage.

This is one I have been growing in the garden for the last two years. It is a slow grower and keeps it's tight cushion characteristic in cultivation. However at my lower 4000' elevation the flowers are held about an inch above the foliage. In their native haunts they are pummeled by wind rushing up the slopes almost daily, on occasion in excess of 100mph.,5994,6138,6139

The first shot is of a very old plant in it's native habitat. It is about twelve inches across.
The second was taken of a young plant in my garden
The last shots are of mature plants in habitat blooming in early August of this year


Submitted by Anne Spiegel on Fri, 11/12/2010 - 15:18

Wonderful plant.  I went to all the references and in one close-up photo the flowers were candy striped pretty fancy.
I'll have to start checking for seed.  This looks like a valuable rock garden plant.  Thanks so much for the pictures and the information.

Submitted by Weiser on Sat, 11/13/2010 - 14:23

Thank you it is a nice one. My four plants seem to be doing well under cultivation. They have increased their size by a third. Two of them decided they could afford to bloom this summer.
Needless to say I was happy! :D

I am still trying to time out the seed ripening time frame. I took a trip up to the summit of Slide Mountain in mid September to try and collect seed. I had mixed results. I collected just enough to share with a couple of friends, but not enough to send to the exchanges. This seems to be one of those Eriogonums that set and ripen seed in an on going cycle. The heads have fresh flowers and ripening seed all at the same time. I think the strong winds dislodge the seed as they ripen. I have to pick a lot material to get a modest volume of seed. I think next year I will go up at the end of August in the hope of catching the blooming cycle at a point that is just past it's peak. My hope is that this would increase the percentage collectable seed available.

Submitted by RickR on Sat, 11/13/2010 - 18:56

Such cute things, John.

I had the hardest time timing my trips to western Minnesota to see the Coryphantha vivipara (Ball cactus) bloom.  I was either too late or too early, it seemed.  Then I discovered that a recently bloomed out flower looks just like one that is about to bloom (!)  No wonder I was having problems!