E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Eriogonum umbellatum Torr.
sulphur buckwheat (sulphur-flower buckwheat)
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #87136)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Eriogonum umbellatum
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a strong taproot and freely branched crown, forming loose flat mats up to 60 cm wide; stems prostrate to ascending, simple, several, 10-30 cm tall/long, usually white-woolly.
Basal leaves elliptic to spoon-shaped, grey- to white woolly-hairy on the lower surface, greenish on the upper, the blades 1-3 (4) cm long, narrowed gradually to the stalks; stem leaves lacking.
Inflorescence a large, simple or compound umbel, subtended by a whorl of leaflike bracts; involucres bell-shaped, hairy, 4-6 mm long, the 6-12 lobes 2-3 mm long, often reflexed; perianths creamy or pale to deep yellow, often tinged with rose or purple, smooth, 6-l0 lobed; flowers usually imperfect.
Achenes, smooth.
Two closely related varieties occur in BC:

1. Perianth white to cream or pale yellow................. var. subalpinum (Greene) M. E. Jones

1. Perianth bright yellow...................... var. umbellatum

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Dry grasslands, shrublands, forest openings, rock outcrops and scree slopes in the steppe to alpine zones; frequent in SC and SE BC; S to CO, UT and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Eriogonum umbellatum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 319 1747 2619
Slope Gradient (%) 0 42 101
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 177 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 1 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(28), BG(14), ESSF(261), ICH(3), IDF(19), IMA(6), MS(65), PP(23)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Eriogonum covillei Small
Eriogonum stellatum Benth.
Eriogonum umbellatum subsp. covillei (Small) Munz
Eriogonum umbellatum subsp. minus (I.M. Johnst.) Munz
Eriogonum umbellatum subsp. stellatum (Benth.) S. Stokes
Eriogonum umbellatum var. chrysanthum Gandog.
Eriogonum umbellatum var. croceum (Small) S. Stokes ex R.J. Davis
Eriogonum umbellatum var. stellatum (Benth.) M.E. Jones

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References