South Dakota Native Plant Research
Polygonaceae : Eriogonum flavum

Polygonaceae : Eriogonum flavum


Download Seed: The triagular achene of yellow wild buckwheat is 4-5 mm long. (81 KB)

Download Seedling: Two month old yellow wild buckwheat seedling grown in research greenhouse at SDSU. (45 KB)

Download Mature plant (659 KB)

Download Vegetative: The wooley leaves of yellow wild buckwheat are 3-10 cm long. (665 KB)

Download Flowering: The flowers make up heads which are borne in an umbel. (416 KB)

Download Fruiting: The yellow buckwheat begins to fruit in late July. (88 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Yellow wild buckwheat

Native American Name

Lakota: čhaŋȟlóǧaŋ hutkáŋ sapsápa šuŋgtȟáwote


Eriogonum flavum is a perennial mat-forming herb from a thick, branched, woody caudex, usually having old leaf bases attached. The oblanceolate, petiolate, basal leaves are crowded, 3-8 cm long, 3-14 mm wide, green to grayish due to hairs on the upper surface and hairy beneath. The flowering stems are leafless, 4-25 cm tall, hairy, with leaf-like bracts subtending a compound umbel inflorescence, that have hairy rays up to 3 cm long. the cymose clusters of flowers are subtended by a few reduced bracts. The flowers have a campanulate involucre that is 4-6 mm long with shallow or lacking lobes. The perianth is 6-merous, 4-6 mm long, yellow to sometimes pink tinged, with hairs on the outside, narrowed to a short pedicel-like base. There are 9 stamens and 3 styles that are all exerted from the perianth. The fruit are elongated achenes with a tuft of hair at the top. Yellow wild buckwheat bloom from May into September on dry plains and ridges in western South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Wild yellow buckwheat forms thick mats and has deep taproots that help stabilize dry slopes and make an outstanding addition to a rock garden or xeriscape. The flowers attract many species of bumblebees. This plant was a favorite of Claude Barr, the noted SD horticulturist.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in September when the perianth is papery and the achenes become tan.

Germination: Fall sow or provide a 90-day cold, moist treatment before spring planting.

Soils: Well drained rocky, sandy, or clay soils.

Light: Full sun

Water: Dry to medium dry.

Polygonaceae : Eriogonum flavum