Irish Hill Buckwheat

(Eriogonum apricum var. prostratum)

Irish Hill buckwheat is a California endangered species, which means that killing or possessing the plant is prohibited by the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). The species Eriogonum apricum, which includes the variety Eriogonum apricum var. apricum is also listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species ActEndangered Species Act(opens in new tab). Irish Hill buckwheat is a perennial herb that blooms between June and September, and grows within the critically imperiled Ione manzanita chaparral vegetation type, primarily on Ione soils. Irish Hill buckwheat can be found on barren surfaces, and sometimes colonizes disturbed sites, often with little, if any other vegetation present. At the time of this webpage posting, the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) lists two occurrences of Irish Hill buckwheat, one at Irish Hill in Amador County and one to the north of Irish Hill. Both of these occurrences are on private property and their status is largely unknown.

Loss of habitat from development and mining activities is considered to be a major threat to the continued existence of Irish Hill buckwheat, particularly because the two known populations remain unprotected on private land. Because only two small Irish Hill buckwheat populations exist, chance events such as disease outbreaks, reproductive failure, extended drought, landslides, or a combination of events could destroy parts of or entire populations and put the species at further risk of extinction. Climate change may also be a threat to the species.

Cooperation with landowners is essential to help prevent the extinction of Irish Hill buckwheat in the wild. The status and extent of Irish Hill buckwheat populations should first be determined, and the availability of habitat for restoration purposes should be assessed. CDFW participated in an mapping effort for Irish Hill buckwheat and other plant species endemic to the Ione formation through the federal Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, which resulted in a 2004 report titled Conservation and Recovery of Ione Endemic Plants: Mapping the Ione Plant Community (PDF)(opens in new tab). With a better understanding of the current status of the species, methods may be identified to reduce the threats of extinction.

CDFW may issue permits for Irish Hill buckwheat pursuant to CESA, and you can learn more about the California laws protecting Irish Hill buckwheat and other California native plants. Populations of Irish Hill buckwheat occur in CDFW’s North Central Region. More information is also available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Species Profile for Eriogonum apricum.

Updated 01/14/2014

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Eriogonum apricum var. prostratum, © George Hartwell
Eriogonum apricum var. prostratum , © George Hartwell
Eriogonum apricum var. prostratum CDFW illustration by Mary Ann Showers, click for full-sized image
Eriogonum apricum var. prostratum CDFW illustration by Mary Ann Showers, click for full-sized image.