Friday, June 13, 2014

Eriogonum umbellatum 'Sulphur Yellow"

Eriogonum umbellatum 'Shasta Sulphur' in my new garden
     Those of you who have spent hours studying the offerings on the Annie's Annuals website, as I have, probably know that Annie's offers a number of eriogonums, commonly known as buckwheats.  Although I wasn't familiar with these until I ordered some from Annie's a couple of years ago, it appears that the eriogonums are a very large genus, second only to penstemons in the number of species for North American natives.  They are native almost all over the United States except in the northeast.  If you are interested in butterflies, it appears that eriogonums are plants to have in your garden.  There are a number of eriogonums that are hosts for butterflies, some of them endangered butterflies, as described here
     Late last summer I ordered some of these plants from Annie's, including three of the one in the picture above, Eriogonum umbellatum 'Shasta Sulphur'.  The description of the plant, along with better pictures than I have, is here.  Since I foolishly ordered these very late in the summer, and I didn't get around to planting them, they stayed in their Annie's pots all winter, out in the cold and rain, with no protection whatsoever.  I was amazed to see that they made it through the winter unscathed, and now that I have planted them, they are flowering and doing well.
     According to the Annie's blurb, they make a tidy mound of evergreen foliage 1 foot high and 3 feet across and have these sulpher yellow flowers starting in the spring and lasting until late summer.  That sounds pretty good to me!  The shade of yellow of the flowers is another quality that I particularly like.  It is the sort of yellow that makes blues, pinks and oranges just pop. 
     I have ordered a couple more eriogonums and in the future I will report to you on how they have done.  In the meantime, if you are interested, you can check out the website of the Eriogonum Society.


  1. I think it's pretty wonderful you are growing these unusual plants that are hosts to our endangered butterflies. A very interesting plant and sounds like a tough one if it survived winter in its nursery pot

  2. I bought three different eriogonum from Annie's last summer but only one made it through our winter (they were all in the ground). I planted them because I heard that they serve as a host for hover flies, who gorge on aphids. I'm so excited to hear that butterflies like them too!