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Eriogonum gypsophilum
(Gypsum wild buckwheat)

[taxon report][distribution map][all photos][line drawing]



Family: Polygonaceae

Scientific Name: Eriogonum gypsophilum Wooton & Standley

Synonyms: None

Vernacular Name: Gypsum wild buckwheat

R-E-D Code: 2-2-3

Description: Tufted, herbaceous, perennial, growing from a woody base; leaves basal, dark green, thick, glabrous above, sparsely hairy beneath, blade ovate to reniform, 1.0-2.0 cm long, 1.5-2.5 cm wide, petiole often longer than the blade; inflorescence an open leafless cyme, 12-20 cm tall; involucres in clusters at the ends of inflorescence branches, campanulate, 4 or 5-toothed, each with 6 flowers; flowers yellow with 6 tepals about 2 mm long. Flowers May through June.

Similar Species: Other species of Eriogonum in this area with yellow flowers have woolly basal leaves or are annuals.


Distribution: New Mexico, Eddy County, the 3 known locations are north of Carlsbad at Seven River Hills, south of Black River Village, and in the drainages of Ben Slaughter Draw and Hay Hollow.

Habitat: Restricted to almost pure gypsum that is sparsely vegetated with other gypsophilous plants such as Coldenia hispidissima, Mentzelia humilis, and Anulocaulis leiosolenus; 1,000-1,100 m (3,280-3,600 ft).

Remarks: This distinct species has no known close relatives.

Conservation Considerations: Oil and gas development is occurring throughout the range of this species. The gypsum deposits on which this plant occurs could be mined, but New Mexico has many other gypsum deposits of higher quality. Off-road vehicles were damaging the habitat at Seven River Hills in the past, but the area was closed and the old damage is healing.

Important Literature (*Illustration):

Knight, P.J. 1993. A status review of gypsum wild buckwheat. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Reveal, J.L. 1976. Eriogonum (Polygonaceae) of Arizona and New Mexico. Phytologia 34(5):409-484.

*New Mexico Native Plants Protection Advisory Committee. 1984. A handbook of rare and endemic plants of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

*U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1984. Gypsum wild buckwheat (Eriogonum gypsophilum) recovery plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

*Wooton, E.O. and P.C. Standley. 1913. Descriptions of new plants preliminary to a report upon the flora of New Mexico. Contributions from the U.S. National Herbarium 16:109-196.

Information Compiled By: Charlie McDonald, 1999

Agency Status:
Taxon USFWS State of NM USFS BLM Navajo Nation Natural Heritage NM Global Rank
Eriogonum gypsophilumTE.T.S1G1


Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
©2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council