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Slender Woolly Buckwheat Back to Plant Page
Eriogonum gracile

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About Slender Woolly Buckwheat (Eriogonum gracile) A member of the plant family Polygonaceae, Eriogonum gracile is an annual species of wild buckwheat native to California and to parts of northwestern Baja California. There are two named varieties, E. gracile var. gracile which is more widespread in California and has a hairier (or woollier) appearance than E. gracile var. incultum which is limited to Southern California and Baja. This small, drought tolerant annual grows in many types of habitats; in sandy as well as clay soils; and in a variety of shapes, from erect to prostrate. Showy, slender, multiply branching, stems rise above the low rosettes of gray-green, smooth to hairy (or woolly), spoon-shaped leaves. The stems are lined with small clusters of flowers in shades of white and pink or yellow during the summer months or even longer. This plant, currently available through seed companies, is a good prospect for habitat restoration and for clustering among other annuals in a wild garden.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Annual herb

Max. Height
1 - 2 ft (0.3 - 0.6 m)

Max. Width
0.3 - 0.7 ft (0.1 - 0.2 m)

Winter Semi-Deciduous

The oblong leaves are borne on short petioles, the largest at the base of the plant with blades approaching 6 centimeters long. There are usually leaves along the lower part of the stem. The leaves are woolly in texture, at least on the undersides.

Flower Color
Cream, Pink, White, Yellow, Brown

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Fall

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry, sandy places, variable


Elevation ?
7' - 9984'

Annual Precip. ?
5.8" - 71.6"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 2.66"

Coldest Month ?
30.8° F - 56.7° F

Hottest Month ?
55.0° F - 84.2° F

Humidity ?
0.41 vpd - 35.58 vpd

Soil Texture
Clay, Sand

Soil PH
5.2 - 8.2


Wildlife Attracted
Native bees; Predatory or parasitoid insects; Butterflies: Mormon Metalmark, Bramble Hairstreak Butterfly, Comstock's Hairstreak, Bernardino Dotted-Blue, Small Dotted-Blue, Acmon Blue, Lupine Blue

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

Common uses
Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Sometimes Available

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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