Tall woolly buckwheat is common name for Eriogonum elatum. Tall buckwheat, tall wild buckwheat, and rush buckwheat are other names for this member of the Buckwheat Family (Polygonaceae). This perennial native grows on open sagebrush flats in sandy to gravelly soil and other dry, rocky sites between 2,000 and 10,000 feet. It can be found in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Nevada.
The basal, upward-pointing leaves are large and lance-shaped with prominent white midveins. The leaves are covered with short white hairs, especially on the underside.
The tall woolly buckwheat inflorescences are compact, spherical clusters at the tips of the branched, leafless stems and also in the branching nodes. White to partially reddish flowers have 6 spreading white lobes with a greenish/pinkish stripe down the center of each lobe. There are 9 white stamens topped by reddish pink anthers.
The genus name comes from Greek and means woolly joint (“erio”/wool and “gonu”/joint) because some members of the genus have hairy joints. The species designation means “tall”.
These tall woolly buckwheat specimens were photographed along Modoc National Forest Road 40N11 near Adin CA (Modoc County) in July.