Plant Spotting: James Buckwheat

Plant Spotting: James Buckwheat

by Patrick Alexander, http://www.swbiodiversity.org/seinet

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S):

Eriogonum jamesii Benth.

COMMON NAME(S):

  • James Buckwheat

  • James wildbuckwheat

  • Antelope sage

FAMILY:

POLYGONACEAE

Collected by B. E. Nelson, http://www.swbiodiversity.org/seinet

GROWTH:

Forb/herb/subshrub

ECOLOGY:

James buckwheat is a dicot perennial forb native to the American Southwest. It can be found in AZ, CO, KS, NE, NM, OK, TX, UT, and WY. It is a small, spreading plant, covered with a small wool, and lacking a caudex, or collar, at the base. White flowers grow to about 8mm. Eriogonum jamesii is a nectar source for the rare Spalding dotted-blue butterfly (Euphilotes spaldingi). It was used by many Native American tribes as a medicine, including as a contraceptive, an eye wash when soaked with water, and an analgesic when ground or sucked on. Some tribes also gave the ground blossom powder to ceremonial dancers in order to bring rain.