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Eriogonum cinereum
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Ashyleaf Buckwheat
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Eriogonum cinereum

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About Ashyleaf Buckwheat (Eriogonum cinereum) Eriogonum cinereum is a species of wild buckwheat known by the common names coastal buckwheat and ashyleaf buckwheat. This shrub is endemic to the coastline of California, where it grows on beaches and bluffs and in coastal scrub and chaparral. This plant may reach up over a meter in height and width and is light silvery gray in color due to the woolly hairs on its stems and foliage. The leaves are wavy-edged ovals one to three centimeters long. The flower clusters stick out from the plant, each with one to several heads of tiny tightly-packed frilly flowers which are usually light brownish-pink in color and quite hairy. This is the foodplant for Euphilotes bernardino, the Bernardino dotted blue butterfly.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Shrub, Perennial herb

Max. Height
2 - 4 ft (0.6 - 1.2 m)

Max. Width
3 - 5 ft (0.9 - 1.5 m)


Growth Rate


Gray-green to silver colored, cauline, with blades 1.5-3 cm long and 1-2.5 cm wide. Leaves are covered with small denesly matted woolen hairs.

Flower Color
Brown, Yellow

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Beaches, bluffs


Elevation ?
-25' - 8222'

Annual Precip. ?
11.4" - 39.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 1.97"

Coldest Month ?
35.4° F - 56.6° F

Hottest Month ?
61.1° F - 77.0° F

Humidity ?
0.93 vpd - 23.07 vpd

Soil Description

Soil Texture
Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH
6 - 8

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 15 - 25° F

Sunset Zones ?
5, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 19, 20, 21, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Plant alongside other natives of the California coastal scrub region, such as California Larkspur (Delphinium californicum), Common Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa), Maritime Brome (Bromus maritimus), and Monterey Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja latifolia).

Wildlife Attracted
Many butterfly species (including Euphilotes bernardino, the Bernardino dotted blue butterfly) and other pollinators including wasps which prey on harmful garden pests! They may attract small mammals and birds who eat the seeds.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low, Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Remove dead seed heads in late fall and dead branches during the growing season. Older untidy plants can be pruned back to 8 inches in the fall to reestablish shape.

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Coastal Buckwheat

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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