Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)
A large family that is well represented in the range. It includes dainty annuals, perennials, and some shrubby forms. The flowers are minute but usually clustered,
so the inflorescence may be fairly showy. There are no petals, but the two to six calyx segments are petal-like. The genus Eriogonum is by far the largest in number of species. Its determining characteristic is its involucres, like tiny containers that hold the flowers. These may be bell-shaped (campanulate), top-shaped (turbinate), or cylindric, and they may be on short stems (peduncles) or hugging the branchlets (sessile). The few to many flowers issuing from an involucre have six petal-like sepals, each with a darker midvein. They are in varying shades of white, pink, or yellow, usually changing color with age.
Many appealing forms show up in this family. Although the leaves of annuals commonly disappear by flowering time, the plants retain their shape when dry, turning to rich shades of reddish brown. The family is such an interesting one that it is worth the effort to become familiar with the botanical terms necessary to describe the species.
Chorizanthe brevicornuTorr. var. spathulata(Small) C.L. Hitchc. Mountain Brittle Chorizanthe. A yellowish-green annual, 1–12 in (2.5–30 cm) high. The plants may be grayish, however, with soft, white hairs, or they are rarely reddish throughout. Leaves are in a basal tuft, the blades spatulate to almost roundish, narrowed to a stem of nearly equal length, the whole 1–2 1/2 in (2.5–6.4 cm) long. Leaflike bracts occur at the nodes, becoming much reduced upward. Involucres are cylindric, ribbed, about 3/16 in (5 mm) long, and commonly curved outward with six curved teeth. Minute flowers are hidden in the involucres. Flower: White, rarely seen.
Distribution. Common; dry slopes and flats, from the valley elevations; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, to 9,000 ft (2,744 m), rarely higher.
Note: Var. brevicornu, with very narrow leaves, is common in Desert Scrub, below 5,000 ft (1,524 m), mostly in hotter, drier places.
Chorizanthe rigida(Torr.) Torr. & Gray. Rosy-thorn. (Plate 6.156) Short, stubby, extremely spiny annuals, 1–4 in (2.5–10 cm) high. Leaves are roundish to elliptic, 3/8–1 in (1–2.5 cm) long, on slender petioles 1–1 1/2 times as long. The plant is soft-hairy when young, but the leaves are soon shed, leaving only the spiny structure. The minute flowers are hidden in the spine-tipped involucres surrounded by other, longer spines. Flower: Yellowish.
Distribution. Very dry, open slopes; Desert Scrub, mostly below 4,500 ft (1,372 m).
Chorizanthe watsoniiTorr. & Gray. Watson Chorizanthe. A small tufted annual, often reddish-tinged, 1–4 in (2.5–10 cm) high. Its foliage is grayish with soft, white hairs. Leaves are narrowly elliptic or oblanceolate, narrowing to a petiole. Involucral tubes are minute, slender, and five-lobed. Four of the lobes are outcurving or hooked teeth; the fifth is much larger and leaflike. The tip of the corolla protrudes from the involucre. Flower: Yellow.
Distribution. Uncommon; dry slopes and flats; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, up to 7,500 ft (2,287 m).
Dedeckera eurekensisReveal & J.T. Howell. Dedeckera, July Gold, Eureka Gold. (Plate 6.157) A rounded, deciduous shrub with a dense growth habit, generally 1–3 ft (0.3–1 m) high and 2–8 ft (0.6–2.6 m) broad. Branches are sturdy and woody at the base but increasingly slender upward. Leaves are elliptic, about 1/2 in (13 mm) long. Leaflike bracts occur at the nodes of the upper branches and are reduced upward. The inflorescence is corymbose, covering the entire bush. Involucres are lacking, but the flowers, like those of Eriogonum, have six petal-like sepals. Flower: Golden yellow.
Distribution. Highly restricted to specific calcareous formations, probably dolomite rich; usually on north-facing slopes; Desert Scrub, 4,700–6,200 ft (1,433–1,890 m).
Eriogonum baileyiWatson. Bailey Buckwheat. An annual, 4–6 in (1–4 dm) high, usually with branches spreading to make a rounded crown. Leaves are basal, roundish, 1/4–3/4 in (6–20 mm) broad, densely white-woolly on both surfaces. Involucres are elongated campanulate, close against the branches and at the nodes. The outer three calyx segments, about 1/16 in (2 mm) long, are oblong, somewhat constricted near the middle, and flaring above. The inner segments are narrower. Flower: White or pink.
Distribution. Common in dry sandy or gravelly places; Desert Scrub to Pinyon-juniper Woodland, up to 7,500 ft (2,287 m).
Eriogonum brachyanthumTorr. & Gray. Short-flowered Buckwheat. An annual much like E. baileyi in form and size. The leaves are similar also. Involucres are turbinate, hugging the branches. Calyx segments are very short, about half as long as those of E. baileyi, the inner ones slightly narrower than the outer. Flower: Yellow.
Distribution. This species may not tolerate limestone; dry, sandy places; Desert Scrub to Pinyon-juniper Woodland, up to 7,500 ft (2,287 m).
Eriogonum brachypodumTorr. & Gray. Glandular Buckwheat. A sturdy-stemmed annual, 3–10 in (8–24 cm) high. Leaves are basal, round to heart-shaped, 1/2–3 in (13–77 mm) broad, densely white-woolly below, less so above. The spreading branches are finely glandular throughout. Involucres are broadly turbinate on deflexed peduncles, so the flowers turn downward. Outer calyx segments are oblong and lobed or heart-shaped at the base; the inner three are smaller. Flower: White, aging pink or reddish.
Distribution. Dry, gravelly places; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,000–7,000 ft (1,220–2,134 m).
Eriogonum caespitosumNutt. Mat Buckwheat. A perennial that forms dense, pancake-size, whitish mats from much-branched, woody root crowns. Leaves are elliptic to spatulate, with the edges slightly rolled under, 1/4–1/2 in (6–13 mm) long, densely white-felted. Slender, leafless flowering stems rise 1–3 in (5–8 cm) from the mat. Each bears a single turbinate involucre with long, linear lobes turned downward. Under a hand lens the calyx shows a hairy base prolonged into a short stem. The inner and outer segments are similar. Flower: Yellow, aging reddish.
Distribution. Common to abundant on dry limestone slopes; mostly in the Pinyon-juniper Woodland of the White Mountains; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 7,000–10,500 ft (2,134–3,201 m).
Eriogonum cernuumNutt. Nodding Buckwheat. A rather dainty annual, 2–12 in (5–30 cm) high, commonly branching at the base. Leaves are basal, round, 1/8–1/2 in (3–13 mm) broad, on petioles longer than the blade. Involucres are turbinate, five-lobed, on fine, deflexed peduncles 1/4–1 in (6–25 mm) long. Calyx segments are wavy-edged, somewhat narrowed toward the middle. Flower: White, aging rose-pink.
Distribution. Uncommon but over a wide range; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 7,000–10,500 ft (2,134–3,201 m).
Eriogonum deflexumvar. deflexum. Skeleton Weed. See description of E. brachypodum, an annual that it closely resembles. This plant lacks glands, however, and the reflexed involucres have no peduncles or only very short ones. Flower: White, aging pink.
Distribution. Sandy or gravelly places; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 5,000–9,500 ft (1,524–2,896 m).
Var.baratum(Elmer) Munz. Tall skeleton weed. A tall plant, up to 40 in (10 dm) high, the stems and some branches slightly inflated. The branching habit is strict, that is, sharply angling upward rather than spreading. Involucres are narrowly turbinate and the calyx segments relatively long. Flower: White, aging pink.
Distribution. Common on gravelly surfaces, especially on volcanic cinders; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,500–8,000 ft (1,372–2,439 m).
Eriogonum esmeraldenseWatson. Esmeralda Buckwheat. A dainty annual, 3–14 in (7.5–35 cm) high, the upper branches fine and threadlike. Leaves are basal, round-ovate, 1/4–1/2 in (6–13 mm) long, on petioles of equal length, and their surface is hairy rather than woolly. Involucres are turbinate, rather deeply five-lobed, on threadlike, reflexed peduncles about 1/4 in (6 mm) long. Calyx segments are oblong. Flower: White, tinged rose-red.
Distribution. Uncommon; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Bristlecone Pine Forest; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 7,000–10,400 ft (2,134–3,171 m).
Eriogonum fasciculatumBenth. var. polifolium(Benth.) Torr. & Gray. California Buckwheat. (Plate 6.158) A low, irregularly spreading shrub, 8–20 in (2–5 dm) high. It is leafy throughout except for the naked flowering stems. Leaves are narrowly linear or oblanceolate, with the edges slightly rolled under, 1/4–1/2 in (6–13 mm) long, and mostly in bundles along the branches. Their surfaces are densely white hoary or felted. Flowering stems rise 4–6 in (10–15 cm) above the leafy branches. The inflorescence is a head or short-branching cluster, the parts finely hairy throughout. Involucres are campanulate but angled. Outer calyx segments are broadly elliptic, the inner ones obovate. Flower: White or pinkish, but the general appearance is dirty white.
Distribution. Common; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,500–7,500 ft (1,372–2,287 m).
Eriogonum gracilipesWatson. Raspberry Buckwheat. (Plate 6.159) A perennial with a turfy habit, the leaves densely clustered on a branching root crown. Leaves are elongated, mostly narrowly obovate, narrowing to a petiole, 1/4–1/2 in (6–13 mm) long in all, and covered with a loose, white-woolly coat. Flowers are in heads of five to seven crowded involucres on naked stems that rise 1–3 in (2.5–7.5 cm) above the leafy mat. Calyx segments are similar, tending to flare outward. Flower: White, turning deep pink to raspberry color.
Distribution. Mostly confined to dolomite areas in the White Mountains; Subalpine and Alpine zones, 10,000–13,000 ft (3,049–3,963 m).
Eriogonum heermanniiDur. & Hilg. ssp.argense(Jones) Munz. Rough Heermann Buckwheat. (Plate 6.160) A small, compact, rounded shrub, 4–8 in (1–2 dm) high, intricately branched, only 1/2 in (13 mm) or less between the nodes. Branchlets are very slender, with roughened surfaces. The small leaves are narrowly oblong and are located on the lower part of the plant. Involucres are sessile on the rigidly branched upper portion. Calyx segments are minute. Flower: Off-white.
Distribution. Dry, rocky places; most common in the Inyo Mountains; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,500–9,000 ft (1,372–2,744 m).
Ssp.humiliusStokes. Common Heermann Buckwheat. A compact, rounded shrub, 12–28 in (3–7 dm) high, larger and coarser than the ssp. argense . Internodes are 1 in (2.5 cm) long, more or less. The intricate, rigidly geometric branching pattern is characteristic of Heermann Buckwheat, regardless of size. Leaves are obovate, most less than 1/2 in (13 mm) long, on the lower branches. Like ssp. argense , the turbinate involucres are sessile on the upper branches. Outer calyx segments are roundish and lobed at the base, and the inner three are oblong. They are large enough to show up well. Flower: White to yellowish white.
Distribution. Limestone slopes, especially on dolomite talus; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,500–8,000 ft (1,372–2,439 m).
Eriogonum inflatumTorr. Desert Trumpet. (Plate 6.161) A perennial, 8–40 in (2–10 dm) high, with bluish green stems openly branched above. The upper part of the main stem and the first branches are inflated, but the ultimate branchlets are extremely fine. Leaves are all basal, green, oblong to roundish, usually heart-shaped at the base, 1/2–1 1/4 in (13–30 mm) long, on slender petioles 1–2 1/4 in (2.5–5.6 cm) long. Involucres are turbinate, five-lobed, on threadlike stems. Calyx segments are hairy with pointed tips. Flower: Yellow.
Distribution. Common in washes and along roadsides; below 6,500 ft (1,982 m).
Eriogonum kennedyiPorter var. purpusii(Brandeg.) Reveal. Kennedy Buckwheat. A densely leafy mat on a woody root crown. Leaves are white-felted, oblong, the edges commonly curled under, 1/8–1/4 in (3–6 mm) long. Wiry, naked flowering stems rise 1 1/2–5 in (4–12 cm) above the leafy mat, each bearing a head about 3/8 in (1 cm) broad. Involucres are turbinate, tightly clustered. Calyx segments are short. Flower: White with greenish midribs.
Distribution. On granitic flats and slopes; White Mountains; Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 6,000–8,000 ft (1,829–2,439 m).
Eriogonum maculatumHeller. Spotted Buckwheat. An annual branching from the base, 2–8 in (5–20 cm) high, soft woolly almost throughout. Basal leaves are obovate, 1/2–1 in (13–25 mm) long, narrowing to a short petiole. Smaller leaves occur at the nodes and are reduced upward. The flowers, on threadlike peduncles, are well distributed over all but the basal part of the plant. Involucres are campanulate, finely glandular-hairy on the surface. Outer calyx segments are inflated in the lower portion, with the inner segments a little longer. This little buckwheat is easily identified by its leafy appearance and its spotted flowers. Flower: White to yellow, pink, or red, each outer segment with a conspicuous rose-purple spot.
Distribution. Common on sandy and gravelly soils of dry places; Desert Scrub, 3,500–7,000 ft (1,067–2,134 m).
Eriogonum microthecumNutt. var. ambiguum(Jones) Reveal. Yellow Microthecum. A scraggly shrub, 1–2 ft high, with grayish, herbaceous stems issuing from slender, brown, woody branches. Leaves are on the lower portion of the herbaceous stems, the blades white woolly beneath and green above, elliptic in shape, 3/4 in (2 cm) long or less. The upper stem branches to form a relatively flat-topped cyme. Involucres, like the stems, are thinly white woolly. They are narrowly turbinate, and terminal on branches of the inflorescence. Outer calyx segments are broad, the inner ones narrower. Flower: Yellow with green midribs.
Distribution. Dry, open places in forested areas; possibly restricted to granitic and volcanic soils or rocks; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 7,500–10,500 ft (2,287–3,201 m).
Var.lapidicolaReveal. Bristlecone Microthecum. A small perennial with a branching root crown and slender stems 1/2–4 in (1.3–10 cm) high. Only the very bases of the stems are leafy. Leaves are white-woolly, especially underneath, elliptic with the edges turned under, 1/8–3/8 in (6–10 mm) long. Stems are naked except for the leafy base, with a branching inflorescence at the top. Each of the fine branchlets carries a single, narrowly turbinate involucre. Outer calyx segments are broad, and the inner ones are narrower and elliptic. Flower: White or pink with rose midrib, maturing rose red.
Distribution. Limestone areas; Inyo Mountains; open places in Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 8,000–10,200 ft (2,439–3,110 m).
Var.laxiflorumHook. Pinyon Microthecum. A shrub similar to var. ambiguum but somewhat more compact and bushy, 4–16 in high. Leaves are obovate to elliptic, the edges turned under, whitish below, green above, 1/2–1 in (13–25 mm) long. The herbaceous part of the stem is green and leafy about half its length. The flat-topped inflorescence is similar in form to var. ambiguum but a little more compact. Flower: White or pink.
Distribution. Dryish slopes and flats; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 7,500–10,000 ft (2,287–3,049 m).
Eriogonum mummulareJones. Kearney Buckwheat. (Eriogonum kearneyi Tides. var. monoense [Stokes] Reveal) A scraggly perennial with dull-gray to brownish brittle stems, 12–40 in (3–10 cm) high. They may be somewhat woody at the base and are leafy above that area and below the branches. Leaves are elliptic, wavy-edged, whitish-coated, mostly 3/4 in (2 cm) long. The branching inflorescence makes up more than half the plant. Involucres are tight on the branches, turbinate, and grayish. Calyx segments are joined at the base, hardly spreading above. The numerous flowers are not at all showy. In fact, the entire plant is drab. Flower: White with red midribs, maturing reddish.
Distribution. Uncommon, but large populations occur on sandy soils, commonly on pumice; mostly Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 7,000–8,500 ft (2,134–2,591 m).
Eriogonum nidulariumCoville. Bird's-nest Buckwheat. A small annual, 2–6 in high, repeatedly branched from the base upward, making a dense plant with a funnelform outline. The color is gray-green. Tips of the branches turn inward in age, creating a bird's-nest appearance. Leaves are basal, the blades roundish, 1/4–3/4 in (6–20 mm) broad, on slender petioles up to 1 in (2.5 cm) long. Narrowly turbinate involucres hug the branches and their forks throughout the plant. Outer calyx segments are broadly fan-shaped, and the inner are narrower. The flowers of this little buckwheat are especially attractive. Flower: White or yellowish, aging rose-pink to red.
Distribution. Common along roadsides and other gravelly, open places; mostly between the valley elevations to Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 7,500 ft (2,287 m) rarely to 9,200 ft (2,805 m).
Eriogonum ovalifoliumNutt. var. ovalifolium.Oval-leaved Buckwheat. (Plate 6.162) A perennial that forms dense, leafy clumps on woody root crowns. Leaves are ovate rounded, 1/4–1/2 in (6–13 mm) long, densely white-felted. Lightly woolly flowering stems rise 2–6 in (5–15 cm) above the basal leaves, each carrying a dense head 1/2–1 1/4 in (13–30 mm) in diameter. These are quite showy. Outer calyx segments are lobed or heart-shaped at the base; the inner ones are spatulate. Flower: Whitish, pink, or soft yellow.
Distribution. Open slopes and flats; Pinyon-juniper Woodland to Alpine Zone, 6,000–13,000 ft (1,829–3,963 m).
Var.nivale(Canby) Jones. Fell-field Buckwheat. An extremely compact form of the species with leaves 1/4 in (6 mm) long or less, making dense mats. Stems may be less than 1/2 in (13 mm) high and the heads as small as 1/4 in (6 mm) in diameter. However, there are intermediates between the two varieties. Flower: White to rose red.
Distribution. Open places, commonly near or above timberline; Pinyon-juniper Woodland to Alpine Zone, 8,500–13,400 ft (2,591–4,085 m).
Eriogonum panamintenseMorton var. panamintense.Panamint Buckwheat. A dull gray perennial with a spreading, somewhat woody root crown. Its stems begin branching fairly low and are commonly incurved above. They are 6–15 in (15–36 cm) high. Basal leaves broadly elliptic or ovate, white-felted on both sides, 1/2–1 1/2 in (1.3–4 cm) long, on slender petioles about twice the length of the blade. Lesser leaves occur at the forks of the branches. Single involucres are scattered along the branches and in the forks. Calyx segments are broad above, tapering to a narrow base. Flower: White, shading to ran at the base, usually tinged pink.
Distribution. Rocky places; Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 6,500–9,500 ft (1,982–2,896).
Var.mensicola(Stokes) Reveal. Plain Panamint Buckwheat. This variety is less robust than var. panamintense and lacks leaves at the forks. Its basal leaves are round and usually smaller, and the flowers are smaller also. Flower: Whitish, tinged pink.
Distribution. Same as for var. panamintense. The two varieties commonly occur together.
Eriogonum pusillumTorr. & Gray. Yellow Turbans. An annual, 3–12 in (7.7–30 cm) high. The smaller plants are very dainty, with the first branches about midway and
the ultimate branches fine and threadlike. With more moisture there may be several stems from the base, with the lower stems and branches sturdy and commonly somewhat inflated. Leaves are all basal, round, 1/4–3/4 in (6–20 mm) long, on petioles up to twice the length of the blade, densely white-felted beneath, less so above. Involucres are broadly turbinate, five-lobed, and finely glandular hairy, on fine peduncles 1/4–3/4 in (6–20 mm) long. Calyx segments differ, with the outer ones broadly obovate and the inner ones narrowly spatulate. They are lightly glandular on the central and lower portions. Flower: Yellow.
Distribution. Sandy places on the lower slopes and flats; Desert Scrub, below 6,500 ft (1,982 m).
Eriogonum rosenseA. Nels. & Kennedy. Limestone Yellow-heads. (Plate 6.163) A perennial that forms loose, greenish gray mats, its leaves tufted on branches of the root crown. Leaves are obovate, 1/4–1/2 in (6–13 mm) long, densely white-felted below, less so above. Naked flowering stems rise 1/2–4 in (1.3–10 cm) high from the tufts of leaves. Involucres are crowded in terminal heads about 1/2 in (13 mm) across. Calyx segments are similar, all obovate. Flower: Bright yellow, aging reddish.
Distribution. Open Alpine Fell-fields on limestone; White Mountains; Subalpine and Alpine zones, 10,000–12,500 ft (3,049–3,811 m).
Eriogonum rupinumReveal. Limber Pine Buckwheat. (Plate 6.164) A gray perennial, 6–20 in (1.5–5 dm) high, with stems rising from clumps of erect leaves. Leaf blades are oblong to obovate-elliptic, 3/4–1 1/2 in (2–3.8 cm) long, on petioles 1–2 1/2 in (2.5–6.1 cm) long. They are white-felted below, less so above, often rose-tinged. The inflorescence is showy throughout the upper part of the plant. Populations are somewhat variable. Those in the White Mountains seem to branch at narrower angles than those in the Inyo Mountains. Involucres are tubular campanulate, hug the stems, and are in the nodes. Calyx segments are broadly oblong. At its best this species is a beautiful study in rose and gray. Flower: Cream color or pink, aging rose-pink.
Distribution. Uncommon; with sagebrush or scattered Limber Pine on noncalcareous soils; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 7,400–9,700 ft (2,256–2,957 m).
Eriogonum umbellatumTorr. var. umbellatum.Sulphur Flower. (Plate 6.165) A shrubby perennial, commonly scraggly, 8–24 in (20–60 cm) high. Leaves are elliptic to ovate, 3/8–3/4 in (1–2 cm) long, greenish above, gray underneath. Flowering stems are usually 3–8 in (7.7–20 cm) long, topped by an umbel with rays mostly less than 1 in (2.5 cm) long, rarely up to 2 in (5 cm). Small, leaflike bracts are at the base of the umbel. Involucres have reflexed lobes as long as the tubular portion. Individual flowers are larger than in most buckwheats and far showier. They narrow below to a short, stemlike base. Flower: Yellow, becoming reddish tinged with age.
Distribution. Common, usually on noncalcareous soils; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 7,000–10,200 ft (2,134–3,110 m).
Var.chlorothamnusReveal. Narrow-leaved Sulphur Flower. This plant is far more slender than var. umbellatum and has narrower leaves. Rays of the umbel are longer and more slender, commonly with small bracts midway. Flower: Yellow.
Distribution. On granitic or volcanic rock or soil; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 6,000–9,000 ft (1,829–2,744 m).
Var.devestivumReveal. Pale Umbelled Buckwheat. (Var. dicrocephalum Gand., var. subaridum Stokes)Leaves ovate, thinly woolly below. Flower: Whitish to cream color, tinged rose-pink.
Distribution. Infrequent; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 9,000–10,000 ft (2,744–3,049 m).
Var.versicolorStokes. Varicolored Buckwheat. A low, matted perennial, less than 6 in (15 cm) high, with leaves broadly elliptic to round, less than 1/2 in (13 mm) long. Flowering stems are 1–6 in (2.5–15 cm) long. Umbels have short rays; some are compact and headlike. Flower: Whitish or cream color, becoming pink tinged, with prominent green midrib that quickly turns rose red.
Distribution. Calcareous soils; common in the Bristlecone Pine Forests; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 7,500–11,000 ft (2,287–3,354 m).
Eriogonum wrightiiTorr. var. subscaposumWatson. Wright Buckwheat. (Plate 6.166) A woody, mat-forming perennial with narrowly branching flowering stems, 3–12 in (7.7–30 cm) high. Leaves are elliptic, 1/4–1/2 in (6–13 mm) long, densely white-felted. They are loosely to densely crowded, forming pale gray mats from which numerous stems rise. Involucres are angular-tubular, 1/8 in (3 mm) long, hugging the branches. Calyx segments are broadest in the upper portion. Flowers are numerous enough to make an attractive display. Flower: Pink or whitish.
Distribution. Rocky slopes and flats, locally abundant; Pinyon-juniper Woodland and Subalpine Zone, 7,000–11,200 ft (2,134–3,415 m).
Oxyria digyna(L.) Hill. Mountain Sorrel. (Plate 6.167) A tender perennial with acid juice. Leaves are tufted on the root crown. The blades are round kidney-shaped, mostly 1/2–1 in (13–25 mm) wide, on slender petioles up to several inches long. Naked flowering stems are 2–10 in (5–24 cm) tall, with the inflorescence crowded on the upper portion. There are no petals, and the minute flowers are relatively inconspicuous, but the broadly winged fruit becomes reddish tinged and attractive. Flower: Green or reddish.
Distribution. Uncommon; sheltered places at the bases of boulders; White Mountains; Alpine Zone, 11,500–13,300 ft (3,506–4,055 m).
Oxytheca dendroideaNutt. Fine Oxytheca. A very dainty annual, 4–16 in (1–4 dm) high, with branches spreading to make a rounded crown. Its leaves, tufted at the base, are narrowly elliptic or lanceolate, less than 1 in (2.5 cm) long, thinly hairy on the surface. Involucres are minute and four-lobed, each lobe spine-tipped. Calyx segments are finely hairy. The entire plant is so dainty that it cannot be appreciated without a hand lens. Flower: White or pink.
Distribution. Uncommon; sandy or gravelly places; Desert Scrub and Pinyon-juniper Woodland, 4,500–8,600 ft (1,372–2,622 m).
Oxytheca perfoliataTorr. & Gray. Saucer Plant. (Plate 6.168) An annual 2–10 in (5–25 cm) high. The main stem branches just above the base, and well-developed plants continue to branch repeatedly. The leaves, in a basal rosette, are broadest near the rounded apex, gradually tapering to short petioles, 1/2–1 1/2 in (13–38 mm) long in all. United bracts at each node form saucer-shaped disks about 3/4 in broad. This is the conspicuous feature of the plant. (It is unrelated to the tender Miner's Lettuce in the Purslane Family.) The seldom-noticed minute flowers are situated in the center of the "saucers." The entire plant may be reddish tinged and turns rosy brown when dry. Flower: White.
Distribution. Dry places; low elevations in Desert Scrub, to 6,500 ft (1,982 m).
Rumex crispusL. Curly Dock. A coarse perennial, 16–48 in (4–12 dm) high. Lower leaves are lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 4–12 in (1–3 dm) long, with wavy edges. Upper leaves are reduced. The inflorescence is a dense panicle, 4–20 in (1–50 dm) long. Flowers are inconspicuous but the fruit becomes showy. Seeds are enclosed by three "valves," which are enlarged sepals, each with a hardened callosity on the back. The plant is commonly tinged with red. Flower: Green.
Distribution. A common weed; Desert Scrub, usually below 6,000 ft (1,829 m).
Rumex paucifoliusNutt. ssp. paucifolius.Mountain Dock. (Plate 6.169) A perennial with few stems, 6–28 in (1.5–7 dm) high. Basal leaves are broadly lanceolate, 16–40 in (4–10 dm) long, narrowed to a petiole of equal length. The inflorescence is a dense panicle. The flowers, which may either be perfect or have the sexual parts in separate flowers on different plants, are minute. Valves of the fruit are heart-shaped, finely veined, and lacking callosities. Flower: Reddish.
Distribution. Moist meadows; Pinyon-juniper Woodland to Alpine Zone, 9,000–11,700 ft (2,744–3,567 m).
Ssp.gracilescens(Rech. f.) Rech. f. Alpine Dock. Stems numerous, less than 8 in (2 dm) high. Basal leaves are linear to linear lanceolate.
Distribution. Very common in seasonally moist places; Subalpine and Alpine zones, 9,800–13,500 ft (2,988–4, 116 m).