Genus Eriogonum
Buckwheat Family (Polygonaceae)

Nodding Skeletonweed
(Eriogonum cernuum)

An unusual buckwheat is the one shown at right. It is commonly seen in Capitol Reef National Park, and eastward towards the Henry Mountains.

It seems to grow well in very poor soil, where not many other plants survive. The stems are reddish, and look like rusty wires sticking up from a small clump of leaves at the base. The very tiny flowers are at the tips of these bare branched stems.

Wiry buckwheat plant

On the Plant Checklist for Capitol Reef National Park, two other skeletonweed buckwheat species are listed:
    Pink Skeletonweed (Eriogonum hookeri)
    Yellow Skeletonweed (Eriogonum wetherellii)
They are all quite similar.

According to many books, some other species of skeletonweed that are common in the four-corners area are Eriogonum deflexum and Eriogonum gordonii. Different botanists disagree as to whether or not all of these should be grouped together as one species.

Capitol Reef National Park
Wayne County, Utah


by Sandra Bray