[Buckwheats: The Genus Eriogonum East of the Cascade Mts. of Oregon and Washington]

Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat

Eriogonum compositum var. compositum

Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule

Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule)

Cream-flowered variety of heart-leaf buckwheat. This is variety compositum.

Characteristics:

Northern Buckwheat, also known as heart-leaf buckwheat is a woody, loosely branched shrublet, sometimes erect, sometimes prostrate. Plants may attain a height of 25-40 cm in bloom, and 60 cm in diameter. The leaves, depending on the variety, may be heart-shaped, ovate, or broadly lanceolate. The leaves are characteristically very white or woolly below and less so to more greenish above. The petioles are roughly as long as (to twice as long) the blades which range from 7-25 cm long and 1.5-5 cm wide. The stout, erect flower stems lack leaves except for several thin bracts directly below the point where the stem branches out to support the wide flower heads.

The inflorescence is a wide cluster or umbel from 2-20 cm wide atop the hollow stems. The 4-10 rays of the umbel range from 2-5 cm long. The flower color varies from a creamy white to a deep lemon-yellow. The involucres range from glabrous to tomentose with triangular lobes about one-half as long as the involucre, which is 6-10 mm long.


Varieties of Heart-leaf Buckwheat:

Variety compositum: Leaf blades ovate to deltoid, often with a heart-shaped base. Involucres sparsely to densely woolly. Found from Mt. Rainier east across south-central and southeastern Washington and south through Oregon to northern California. It may also occasionally be found west of the Cascade Mts. in the Willamette Valley.

Variety lancifolium: Leaf blades lanceolate, usually more than 3 times long as wide. Found in the Wenatchee Mts. of southern Chelan County, and occasionally into northern Kittitas County in Washington.

Variety leianthum: Leaf blades ovate to deltoid, infrequently with a heart-shaped base. Found along the east slope of the Cascade Mts of Washington to the south of the Wenatchee Mts south to Mt. Rainier and east through much of central Washington to west-central Idaho and to Baker County in northeastern Oregon.


Habitat:

Heartleaf Buckwheat is typically found on dry open, rocky slopes, frequently on talus or cliffsides.


Range:

Heartleaf Buckwheat is primarily found east of the Cascade crest, from Washington's Chelan County in the north to northern California, eastward Nez Perce County of Idaho, south to northeast Oregon. It is also found in the Umpqua Valley of southwest Oregon and may be found on undisturbed, rocky islets on the upper Willamette River.


Uses:

Heartleaf Buckwheat is a relatively easy buckwheat for the rock garden. It's foliage adds a nice silvery hue to the front of the garden, and its white or yellow flowers are additionally choice (and highly insect attractive) although prone to flopping as they get larger. One of mine was exposed to near record rains in Portland this past year, and survived fine, although it looked dead early in the spring (all of the leaves shriveled up).


Close-up of the inflorescence of Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule)

The photo above shows a close-up of the inflorescence of heart-leaf buckwheat.

Basal leaf of Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule)

The photo above shows the upper surface of the leaf of heart-leaf buckwheat as seen near the summit of Cabbage Hill east of Pendleton, OR.......July 6, 1999.

Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat, Smooth Arrow-leaf Wild Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. leianthum (Synonym: Eriogonum tolmieanum) - Desert Paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa) and Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat, Smooth Arrow-leaf Wild Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. leianthum (Synonym: Eriogonum tolmieanum)

Inflorescence of Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat, Smooth Arrow-leaf Wild Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. leianthum (Synonym: Eriogonum tolmieanum) - Inflorescence of Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat, Smooth Arrow-leaf Wild Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. leianthum (Synonym: Eriogonum tolmieanum)

Dorsal leaf surface of Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat, Smooth Arrow-leaf Wild Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. leianthum (Synonym: Eriogonum tolmieanum) - Ventral leaf surface of Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat, Smooth Arrow-leaf Wild Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. leianthum (Synonym: Eriogonum tolmieanum)

Close-up views of arrowleaf buckwheat (var. compositum) associated with desert paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa) on rocky slopes above the John Day River in Wheeler County, north-central Oregon.........May 16, 2010. Note the glabrous upper stems and that the inflorescence is nearly hairless. Note also that the involucres of this variety are more funneliform rather than campanulate as in var. compositum.

Close-up of a yellow-flowered form of Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule) - Close-up of the inflorescence of a yellow-flowered form of Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule) - Yellow-flowered form of Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule)

Close-up photos of a yellow-flowered form of heartleaf buckwheat as seen along Washington Highway 129 at about milepost 7 in the Grande Ronde canyon of southeastern Washington.........May 24, 2010.

Inflorescence of Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule) - Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule)

Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule) - Inflorescence of Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule)

Unusual variety of bud colors in heartleaf buckwheat as seen atop Bickleton Ridge in the Bickleton Ridge Unit of the Klickitat Wildlife Area.........June 17, 2017.

Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule) - Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule)

Yellow-flowered form of heartleaf buckwheat as seen along FS Road #38-200 about two miles southeast of Spanish Peak, Ochoco National Forest.........June 14, 2015.

Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule) - Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule)

Heartleaf buckwheat seen on basalt roadcuts along the Joseph Creek Road in the Chief Joseph Wildlife Area, extreme southeastern Washington.........May 24, 2010.

Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule) - Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule)

Heartleaf buckwheat observed at a bald about one-third of a mile uphill to the northwest of the trailhead for the Stein's Pillar Trail #837, Ochoco National Forest.......June 2, 2018. The plants at this location were being nectared upon by cedar hairstreaks and columbia dotted blue butterflies.

Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum (Synonyms: Eriogonum compositum var. citrinum, Eriogonum compositum var. pilicaule, Eriogonum johnstonii, Eriogonum pilicaule)

Heartleaf buckwheat as seen along the Slide Lake Trail, Strawberry Mountain Wilderness..........August 11, 2015.

Paul Slichter