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Common Name: Winged Buckwheat
Eriogonum alatum is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.75 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
South-western N. America - Nebraska to Texas, west to Colorado and California.
Sandy to gravelly flats and slopes, mixed grassland, saltbush, and sagebrush communities, oak, pinyon and/or juniper, and montane conifer woodlands at elevations of 300 - 3100 metres[
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain. There are two main forms of the plant, the type variety (Eriogonum alatum var. alatum) is rarely cultivated since an individual plant may go up to seven (or more) years before flowering, after which it dies[
]. It is unclear whether the variety glabriusculum also does this[
]. The notes below are based on the needs of other members of this genus.
Requires a loose lean gritty well-drained soil in a very sunny position[
]. Succeeds in dry soils. Tolerates exposed positions[
]. Requires some protection from winter wet[
Established plants resent root disturbance[
Root - raw or dried for later use[
Seed - ground into a powder and made into a mush[
The plant has been used in the treatment of pain and also to make a lotion to treat rashes[
A cold infusion of the root has been used to treat diarrhoea and bad coughs[
]. It has also been used as a mouthwash for sore gums[
]. The powdered root has been mixed with oil and used as a dressing on a baby's sore navel[
The Navajo (Diné) people consider the species to be a 'life medicine', using a mixture of shredded roots and water primarily to treat internal ailments[
The species is used as a ceremonial medicine[
The Zuni use it as an emetic for stomachaches[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a sandy compost in a greenhouse. Sow stored seed in early spring in a warm greenhouse[
]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division in early spring[
]. This has to be done with care because the plant resents root disturbance[
]. Try to obtain divisions from around the edges of the plants without digging up the whole clump. Tease the divisions out with as much root on them as possible and pot them up. Grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse until they are rooting well and plant them out in the summer.
Cuttings of greenwood with a heel in the summer[