Test, test – Eriogonum umbellatum var. porteri

Little plants series – the chameleon

It seems that my subscription form doesn’t always works, so I am testing with a little plant; actually from a category that should be better called ‘flat to the ground’ (or prostrate plants, botanically speaking ;) Eriogonum umbellatum (sulfur buckwheat), is well-known to the rock garden aficionados and mountain enthusiasts, and it has quite a few, hard to ID varieties.

E. umbellatum var. porteri (Porter’s sulphur flower) is the smallest of them all – a real golden nugget I acquired from Wrightman Alpines. In the wild it grows on rocky slopes and ridges at high-elevations in a few locations in Colorado, Nevada and Utah.

Eriogonum umbellatum var.porteri
Eriogonum umbellatum var. porteri – Bear in mind that this is a young plant and it needs a few more years to start glowing in its full splendour

Flat to the ground, or better said container, it is an all season interest plant: evergreen foliage with small leaves in tight rosettes, yellow bright flowers which turn red when fading (like in the featured image); the foliage will also acquire red and orange tones. Needless to say – pollinator friendly and a reliable, good companion for other little plants.

To make my point, two more images:

E. umbellatum var. aureum in full bloom in Wasatch Mts. (Utah), which is very similar with var. porteri; the later replacing var. aureum at higher elevations.

Eriogonum umbellatum var. aureum

Eriogonum umbellatum var. aureum (Wasatch Mts., Utah)

And an incredible old exemplar of E. umbellatum var. porteri which has turned red after pollination – growing at the Montreal Botanical Garden (which is renown, by the way, for its Alpine Garden).

Eriogonum umbellatum var.porteri - Montreal BG

Eriogonum umbellatum var.porteri ( Montreal BG)

Sort of a chameleonic plant I would say…

4 replies
    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      You’re right! I also like it for the evergreen foliage; not too many perennials here that can claim this ‘quality’.

  1. willisjw
    willisjw says:

    I am intrigued. I will add this to my wish list. I assume that the Wasatch Mountains scenery will grow up beside the plant…

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