FWS Focus


Eriogonum ovalifolium var. williamsiae (steamboat buckwheat) is a low, densely matted, compact perennial herb 2-18 inches (in; 5-46 centimeters (cm)) across. The above-ground portions of the plant arise from a shallow but stout, woody, reddish-brown taproot (usually in older plants) or a shallow, fibrous, rhizomatous root system in younger plants. Each plant bears numerous oval to kidney-shaped leaves congested in tight rosettes. Leaf blades are generally 0.1-0.3 in (3-8 millimeters (mm)) long, 0.2-0.4 in (5-10 mm) wide, and are densely covered with greenish-white to tannish-white hairs. Inflorescences are on erect, partly woolly stems that are up to 10 in (25 cm) long and are enclosed in cone-shaped involucres (i.e. a whorl of bracts subtending the flower) covered in densely-matted, woolly hairs. Five to eight involucres are clustered at the top of each stem. Flowers are generally white with a central greenish-brown rib, turning pinkish-tan with age. Flowering typically occurs from mid-May through June and seed heads remain on the plant through October (Reveal 1981, Williams 1982, USFWS 1995).

Scientific Name

Eriogonum ovalifolium var. williamsiae
Common Name
Steamboat buckwheat
FWS Category
Flowering Plants

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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