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Gardening sheet   eriogonum umbellatum
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Gardening sheet eriogonum umbellatum


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  • 1. *Sulfur-flowered buckwheat – Eriogonum umbellatum (air-ee-OG-oh-num um-bell-LAY-tum) Family: Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family) Native to: Western North America from British Columbia to California, including the San Gabriel Mtns and Mojave Desert; dry, open, often rocky places from sea level to alpine (to 12,000 ft). Growth characteristics: perennial/sub-shrub mature height: 1-3 ft. mature width: 1-3 ft. Spreading sub-shrub whose characteristics vary greatly among its many varieties and sub-species. Theodore Payne Foundation sells var. munzii which is 1 ft tall and spreads to 2-3 ft wide. Stems are half-woody (like most shrubby local buckwheats). Leaves are rounded, evergreen with some water, usually hairy when young. Leaves primarily basal but not entirely so. Slow to moderate growth – may live 20+ years. Blooms/fruits: Blooms in late spring/summer, June to July/August. Flowers are a bright sulfur yellow (lemon yellow). While individual flowers are small, they are densely clustered on stalks; flowers appear to float above the foliage. Very attractive in bloom, particularly when massed. Uses in the garden: Another attractive buckwheat for water-wise gardens. Fine for hot, dry conditions, containers. Combine with other buckwheats for contrasting color; use with natural associates like Yarrow, Goldenrods, warm-season native grasses for habitat. Native Californians used leaf tea for colds/stomach aches & poultice/dried leaf powder for rheumatism, burns, skin pain. Sensible substitute for: Non-native buckwheats, small non-native water-wise shrubs. Attracts: Excellent habitat plant: provides nectar for bees (including native), butterflies and other pollinators. Provides cover and seeds (food) for seed-eating birds, small animals. Requirements: Element Requirement Sun Sun to very light shade. Soil Most, although prefers rocky; any local pH. Water Very occasional (Water Zone 1-2); var. munzii can take Zone 2 Fertilizer Not needed Other Inorganic mulch or very thin (1 inch) organic mulch when establishing. Management: Pretty low maintenance plant. Doesn’t like hot, humid conditions. Cut off dead flower heads in fall, when birds have eaten the seeds. Propagation: from seed: may need 60 day cold/moist treatment by cuttings: ?? Plant/seed sources (see list for source numbers): 1, 8, 11, 13, 14, 16, 20, 24, 46 4/29/14 * not native to western Los Angeles County, but a CA native © Project SOUND