Endangered Species
Mountain-Prairie Region
Clay-loving Wild Buckwheat

Clay-Loving Wild-Buckwheat
Photo taken by and used with permission of Dr. James Reveal

Species Description:  The clay-loving wild buckwheat (Eriogonum pelinophilum) is a low-growing, rounded, densely branched subshrub (low shrub with ground-hugging stems) in the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae), with dark green, inrolled leaves that appear needlelike, and clusters of white to cream colored flowers with greenish-red to brownish-red bases and veins at the end of the branches.  The clay-loving wild buckwheat is estimated to live between 20 and 50 years.  Flowering typically occurs from late May to early September with individual flowers lasting fewer than 3 days.  Reproduction requires a pollinator. Over 50 species of insects visit clay-loving wild buckwheat flowers; approximately 25 are native bees, and 18 are native ants.  Some fruits are removed by harvester ants; however, no information is available on species that may disperse seeds. 

Location:  The clay-loving wild buckwheat is endemic to the rolling clay (adobe) hills and flats immediately adjacent to the communities of Delta and Montrose, Colorado.  The plants extend from near Lazear, east of Delta on the northern end of the species’ range, to the southeastern edge of Montrose in Delta and Montrose Counties, Colorado.  The plants occur from 5,180 to 6,350 feet in elevation.

Actions:  On July 13, 1984, we listed the clay-loving wild buckwheat as endangered and designated critical habitat on 119.8 acres (49 FR 28562).  On November 10, 1988, we finalized the Clay-Loving Wild Buckwheat (Eriogonum pelinophilum) Recovery Plan.

On July 24, 2006, we received a petition to amend the critical habitat designation for clay loving wild buckwheat.  On June 22, 2009, we published our 90-day finding determining the petition presented substantial information indicating that revising critical habitat may be warranted (74 FR 29456).  On September 29, 2009, we published a 12-month finding on this petition.  This finding concluded revisions to the critical habitat designation for clay-loving wild buckwheat are warranted but precluded by other priorities.  Thus, a rulemaking to implement these revisions will be delayed until we complete the higher priorities and we have the necessary resources.

On September 30, 2009, we completed a 5-year review of the status of the clay loving wild buckwheat.  This status review concluded no change in its listed status under the Act was necessary.

More information can be found on the Service's ECOS webpage


Last updated: January 17, 2017