Southern Mountain Wild-buckwheat

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Southern Mountain Wild-buckwheat

Eriogonum kennedyi var. austromontanum

ListedSeptember 14, 1998
FamilyPolygonaceae (Buckwheat)
DescriptionA perennial, herbaceous plant with prostrate stems forming loose, cushionlike, leafy mats.
HabitatPebble plains in mountains.
ThreatsHabitat destruction by urbanization, and degradation by off-road vehicles, changes in hydrological conditions, and other disturbances.


Southern mountain wild-buckwheat, Eriogonum kennedyi var. austromontanum, a member of the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae), is a woody-based perennial with stems forming loose cushion-like leafy mats 6-14 in (15-35 cm) wide. The leaves are oblanceolate (with rounded end broader than the base), 0.2-0.4 in (5-10 mm) long and densely white hairy. The inflorescences are 3-6 in (7-15 cm) high, bearing head-like flower clusters. The perianth (united calyx and corolla) is white to rose, and composed of inner and outer lobes that are similar in appearance. This taxon flowers from July through September. This variety can be distinguished from E. kennedyi var. kennedyi and E. kennedyi var. alpigenum, which also occur in the San Bernardino Mountains, by its long, loosely wooly-haired inflorescences, longer involucres (whorls of bracts) (0.1-0.2 in [2-5 mm] long), longer (0.2 in [5 mm]) fruits, and longer leaves (0.2-0.4 in [5-10 mm]). Southern mountain wild-buckwheat could also be confused with E. wrightii ssp. subscaposum. However, E. wrightii ssp. subscaposum has racemose flower stalks, wider leaves, shorter fruits, and is found in yellow pine forest.


Southern mountain wild-buckwheat occurs primarily on pebble plain habitat.


Southern mountain wild-buckwheat is known from seven pebble plain complexes in the San Bernardino Mountains. Reports of this taxon in Ventura County are based on specimens subsequently determined to be another species. Southern mountain wild-buckwheat is known to occur on U. S. Forest Service, California Department of Fish and Game, and private lands. All of the sites supporting this taxon are threatened.


This species is imperiled by a variety of activities that result in habitat modification, destruction, degradation, and fragmentation. These activities include urbanization, off-road vehicle activity, alteration of hydrological conditions, and vandalism.

Conservation and Recovery

Some critical habitats of the southern mountain wild-buckwheat are on public lands owned by the U. S. Forest Service and the California Department of Fish and Game. These publicly owned habitats should be strictly protected against threatening activities, including livestock grazing. Other populations are on private lands, and are potentially at risk from various kinds of activities. The largest of these critical habitats should be protected. This can be done by acquiring the land and establishing ecological reserves, or by negotiating conservation easements with the landowners. The populations of the southern mountain wild-buckwheat should be monitored, and research undertaken into its biology and ecological requirements.


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
Eastside Federal Complex
911 N. E. 11th Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97232-4181
Telephone: (503) 231-6121

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Carlsbad Field Office
2730 Loker Avenue West
Carlsbad, California 92008-6603
Telephone: (760) 431-9440
Fax: (760) 431-9624


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 14 September 1998. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Final Rule To Determine Endangered or Threatened Status for Six Plants From the Mountains of Southern California. Federal Register 63 (177): 49006-49022.

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Southern Mountain Wild-buckwheat

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Southern Mountain Wild-buckwheat