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   Eriogonums are attractive plants found abundantly in the Four Corners.  Flowers are often showy, colorful, and long lasting.

      The Eriogonum genus was named by Andre Michaux (1746-1803) in his 1803, Flora Boreali-Americana.   "Erio" is Greek for "wool" and "gono" for "knee", referring, according to William A. Weber, to the "wooly leaves and swollen joints of the type species".

See more Eriogonum   and  more  and  Eriogonum cernuum.

 

Eriogonum jamesii 
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Foothills, montane. Meadows, shrublands, woodlands.  Summer.
Navajo Reservation above Teec Nos Pos, Arizona, June 24, 2006.

Eriogonum jamesii and  Eriogonum umbellatum  can easily be confused, but a careful look separates the two.  Leaves on E. jamesii have more hair, are longer, and do not turn red as those of E. umbellatum commonly do.  E. jamesii flowers are hairy and its flower heads branch.  E. umbellatum grows higher into the mountains and is by far more common in the Four Corners area.  

Bentham named this species in 1856.  Edwin James was a highly respected long-time plant collector.  (More biographical information.)

Eriogonum jamesii 
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Foothills, montane. Meadows, shrublands, woodlands. Summer.
Navajo Reservation above Teec Nos Pos, Arizona, June 24, 2006.

Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulphur Flower)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Foothills, montane, subalpine. Meadows, openings. Spring, summer.
Mesa Verde National Park, May 31, 2004.

Sulfur Flower is an abundant, very bright addition to hot, dry meadows of foothills and mountains.  Its numerous, long-lasting flowers start as red tinted buds, open brilliant yellow, and then dry to oranges and reds.  Its small leaves form dense wide mats and change to reds in the fall.

Eriogonum umbellatum is, according to  Flora of North America, "widespread and exceedingly variable...."   The discussion of the forty-one varieties of E. umbellatum takes up over eighteen pages in the Flora.  Nine of the varieties occur in at least one of the Four Corners states of Arizona, Utah, or Colorado but none occur in New Mexico.  The  forty-one varieties differ from one another first in the arrangement of their bracts, then in flower size and color, leaf blade hairiness and shape, the upright or spreading posture of the plant, etc.  

John Torrey named Eriogonum umbellatum in 1827.  "Umbellatum" refers to the umbrella-like arrangement of the flowers.

Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulphur Flower) 
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Foothills, montane, subalpine. Meadows, openings. Spring, summer.
Mesa Verde National Park, June 3, 2004.

Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulfur Flower)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Foothills, montane, subalpine. Meadows, openings. Spring, summer.
Fish Creek Trail, August 9, 2005.

Dried flowers have subtle shades of reds and yellows.

Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulfur Flower)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Foothills, montane, subalpine. Meadows, openings. Spring, summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, August 15, 2008.

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