top of page
< Back

California Buckwheat

Eriogonum fasciculatum

Out of stock

1 gallon

Plant Care

Native region:

Local Native

Water needs:

Low

Exposure:

Mature size:

Growth rate:

Full Sun

3'x5'

Moderate

Flower color:

Flower season:

Pruning:

White - Pink - Rust

Year-Round

None

Wildlife

Monarchs:

No

Nectar pollinators:

Yes

Nighttime pollinators:

No

Rabbit resistant:

Yes

Eriogonum fasciculatum, best known as California buckwheat is found primarily on dry slopes and canyon washes in the American West, including Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, in addition to California and reaching as far as Mexico's northwest. In California it is the most widespread of the shrubby buckwheat species, found in abundance in the southern half of our state.
Evergreen shrub, variable in size, often 3’ high x 5’ wide, but can get bigger—especially wider. It produces profuse pink to white and cream-colored flowers as early as March that dry to a pretty red rust color as the soil dries. It sheds its dried flowers and a significant portion of its small blade-like leaves each dry season, and is an important plant for creating natural mulch. Plants can go through a short dormancy in summer especially in June-July—this happens the most with plants in containers but can happen with plants in the ground too. They bounce back if we receive monsoonal rain or with cooler temperatures in the fall.
California buckwheats are tough and easy to grow, even in very dry conditions. Plant in a well draining sunny site. It shouldn't need supplemental water after established, but it will tolerate occasional summer water better than most extremely drought tolerant California natives. It will be happy if you give it problem soil (rocky, alkaline, etc.).
Flowers, leaves and seeds provide habitat and food for numerous small birds, animals and especially butterflies making California Buckwheat a great choice for wildlife habitats and butterfly gardens.
Indigenous peoples in the west and southwest used different parts of the California buckwheat for nutrition and medicine. The Cahuilla tribe used this plant in many ways: they would treat headaches and stomach pains with tea made from its leaves; treated colds and sore throats with tea made by steeping its roots; and applied poultices made from pounded roots to wounds. Cahuilla peoples also treated heart problems with tea from the dried flowers and dried roots of Eriogonum fasciculatum. Modern science has verified that a chemical compound common to several plant species including Eriogonum can be beneficial to hearts (USDA Plant Profile).
The Natural Resources Conservation Service, a division of the US Department of Agriculture, identifies and experiments with natives and other plants for their conservation value - primarily their ability to protect soils from erosion, revegetate burn scars, and provide habitat and sustenance to wildlife as an aid in controlling agricultural pests. Their experiments with California buckwheat show that it has superior value in all three of these categories. The USDA Plant Profile for Eriogonum fasciculatum classifies its performance as a conservation plant on critical areas and problem soils as “excellent.” It receives another “excellent” mark for providing “nectar sources for beneficial insects when planted next to crops as part of an (IPM) Integrated Pest Management program.” They recommend the use of its seeds in seed mixes introduced to burn scars for revegetation. Finally, California buckwheat gets USDA bonus points because it is “ideal for environmental enhancement uses” (government-speak for “beautiful in the landscape”).

Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information

The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others! 

 

Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.

 

Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.

bottom of page