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Plant of the Month
Photos: Rachel Cobb
Common Name: California Buckwheat
Growth Habit: shrub 3-4’ tall and 3-4’ wide
Cultural Requirements: California buckwheat is the most common buckwheat in chaparral and coastal sage scrub. Once established it needs no further care.
Features/Uses: From late spring into mid-summer the profuse white flower clusters are conspicuous in local chaparral and coastal sage scrub. Often the flowers are so dense that they cover the plants. As an additional attraction before blooming the flower buds are often pink.
Buckwheats are summer-blooming highlights in California’s natural landscapes and in CA native gardens. Later in the season the rusty brown seed heads are attractive and attract seed-eating birds. The evergreen leaves are short, stiff, and somewhat similar to rosemary. California buckwheats are partially drought deciduous and in order to reduce water loss many of the leaves yellow and drop late in the summer and fall.
The cultivars ‘Dana Point’ and ‘Warriner Lytle’ are lower growing forms.
Other California buckwheat varieties are native to foothills, mountains, deserts, and other southwest states.
Several other buckwheat species are attractive summer blooming additions to native gardens. Some of our favorites are Saint Catharines’ lace (Eriogonum giganteum) and red-flowered buckwheat (Eriogonum grande var. rubescens).
Bloom Time: late spring through summer
Where in the Garden: Natural Areas at the Overlook and Native Plants and Native People Trail, California Gardenscapes