[The Buckwheats of the Columbia River Gorge 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 common west of The Dalles, OR. This photo was taken at Catherine Creek in the central Columbia River Gorge..........May 14, 2006.

Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositumPhoto at right of the yellow-flowered variety of the heart-leaf buckwheat common east of The Dalles, OR. Photo taken at the crest of the Columbia Hills north of the Dallesport, WA..........May 1995.
Characteristics:

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, woolly below, less so to more greenish above. The petioles are roughly as long as the blades.

The 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. Several linear to oblanceolate bracts may be found at the base of the inflorescence. The flower color varies from a creamy white to a deep lemon-yellow.


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.

In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found from 100'-4900' throughout the length of the gorge. The white-flowered form is dominant west of The Dalles, OR, while the yellow-flowered form is dominant to the east.


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 (especially if they get wet west of the Cascades).


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)

A population of both cream-colored and yellow-colored northern buckwheats in bloom (left) near the crest of the Columbia Hills, Columbia Hills Natural Area Preserve..........June 3, 2009. The photo at right shows a cream-flowered form of northern buckwheat as seen on the south-facing slopes of Sevenmile Hill just east of the Wasco County Rock Quarry..........April 23, 2016.

Burnt crown 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)

A close-up of the woody crown of northern buckwheat which had been severly burned the previous summer. A few new leaves are sprouting upwards. Photographed on Sevenmile Hill, Columbia River Gorge.........April 12, 2015.

Inflorescence of Heart-leaf Buckwheat, Northern Buckwheat: Eriogonum compositum var. compositum

Photo above of the inflorescence of the cream-flowered form of heart-leaf buckwheat. Photo taken at High Rock, Mt Hood N.F..........July 20, 1994.

Paul Slichter