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St. Catherine's Lace
Eriogonum giganteum

About St. Catherine's Lace (Eriogonum giganteum) St. Catherine's lace is a species of wild buckwheat endemic to the Channel Islands of California. It is variable in size, from a thin half a meter in height and width to a sprawling or rounded bush over three meters high and wide. The leathery, woolly, oval-shaped leaves are clustered sparsely along the mostly naked branches. The plant flowers densely in carpets of clustered tiny flowers, each hairy pinkish white flower only a few millimeters across. One variety of this geographically limited plant, the Santa Barbara Island buckwheat, is particularly rare.

In the mainland CA garden, planting in fast-draining, preferably rocky, soil and watering regularly until the plant is established gives St. Catherine's lace a good start. It grows quickly and adapts to inland temperatures higher than it's endemic range. It is clay tolerant when drainage is fast. The estimated mainland cold hardiness is between 15 to 25 degrees F. Young flower heads are white and lacy, gradually turning to warm, reddish brown over the summer. Once flowers are dead-headed, the plant may look a bit sparse until warmer temperatures push out new white to soft gray-green leaves in abundance. The UC Davis Arboretum named this wildlife-friendly plant one of its "All-Stars", surely supporting its wide use in California landscapes.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1.6 - 5 ft (0.49 - 1.5 m)

Max. Width
4 - 10 ft (1.2 - 3.0 m)

Mounding, Rounded

Growth Rate

Evergreen, Winter Semi-Deciduous

Single; white-gray-green; ovoid shape up to 4 inch(10.2cm) long; wavy to crinkly edges; suedelike to woolly texture

Flower Color
Cream, Pink, White

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Fall

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry rocky places as part of coastal sage scrub or chaparral, primarily on the Channel Islands


Elevation ?
-215' - 1650'

Annual Precip. ?
7.9" - 17.9"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 0.30"

Coldest Month ?
49.2° F - 57.4° F

Hottest Month ?
64.4° F - 73.3° F

Humidity ?
1.45 vpd - 17.87 vpd

Soil Description
Rocky, gravelly

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0


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

Wildlife Attracted
Butterflies, honey bees, native bees, birds and small mammals

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

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

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?

No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Pinch back rapidly growing stem tips to increase the plant's density. Deadhead the spent flower stalks. (Remember to harvest mature seeds of some flower heads, if desired.)

Propagation ?
Self seeds. Hybridizes with E. arborescens and E. fasciculatum. The hybrid of E. giganteum and E. arborescens is sold as Eriogonum blissianum.  For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly 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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