Eriogonum – St. Catherine’s Lace – Wild Buckwheat – Umbrella Plant –
There are about 150 species of annuals, perennial and small evergreen shrubs,, in this genus. They occur mostly in desert and Mountains in Western USA. They are grown for their beautiful, often silver or white woolly foliage and their dense heads, umbels, or cymes of small, long lasting flowers, cupped in involucres of toothed or lobed bracts. They range from compact, cushion forming plants with linear to ovate or rounded leaves in basal rosettes, to large shrubs with opposite, alternate, or whorled leaves. Fruit is a 3 angled achene. Grow smaller, rosette forming species in a rock garden or alpine house, the larger ones in a shrub border. Taller species make good cut flowers both fresh and dried.
Outdoors, grow in poor to gritty, moderately fertile, sharply drained soil in full sun to part shade, protect from winter moisture. Deadhead to prolong flowering. Divide in spring or fall.
Prone to powdery mildew, and rust.
E. umbellatum var. torreyanum – E. torreyanum – Sulfur Buckwheat – This long-lived, upright domed woody based perennial or subshrub grows 12″ tall and 2-3′ feet wide. It produces rosettes of spoon shaped or ovate leaves, to 3/4″ long, hairless, mid green above, white beneath. In mid summer it bears abundant umbels 1 1/4-2 ½” across, noticeably bracted, bright yellow flowers, atop of stems 2-4″ long. Not always free flowering.