Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Dog-tongue Buckwheat - Eriogonum tomentosum   Michaux
Members of Polygonaceae:
Only member of Eriogonum in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Polygonales » Family Polygonaceae
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DistributionSouthern Coastal Plain (historical). A single specimen is known from "Bladen County", Biltmore Herbarium #434 (US). This species in known from a dozen SC counties, including Chesterfield (which borders NC), so its absence from the NC Sandhills is puzzling.

Coastal Plain, NC (formerly) to central FL and southern AL.
AbundanceLong historical now, with just the single record, collected in the 1890's (as mentioned in Weakley 2018). Normally, the NCNHP or the website editors would give a State Rank of SX (extirpated) to a species not seen in the state in over 100 years, which it technically is now. However, the SX rank definition also includes "virtually no likelihood that it will be rediscovered". Because the species occurs in a number of SC counties, including a few close to the NC Sandhills, it might still be lurking in the NC Sandhills (such as in Scotland or Richmond counties). Or if not, it could easily spread northward into the state in upcoming years. Thus, the current SH (historical) rank is appropriate. It is a State Special Concern - Historical species.
HabitatXeric sand of Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass sandhills and, possibly, Carolina bay rims. Suitable habitat in NC certainly seems widespread.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting August-September.
IdentificationDog-tongue Buckwheat grows 1.5-3 feet tall from a rosette of elliptical leaves that taper to long stalks. Stem leaves are smaller and shorter, without stalks, and in whorls of 3-4. The plant is covered in short, whitish or tan downy hairs. The terminal, branched inflorescence is composed of clusters of 10-20 small white flowers each. The petals appear somewhat "papery" in buckwheats. This plant is not easily overlooked, owing to the broadly elliptical whorled stem leaves, and the widely (elm-like) branched inflorescence topped with very numerous small white flowers. The editors feel like it should be "out there" in the state's Sandhills region, even if there has been somewhat thorough coverage of the Sandhills Game Land.
Taxonomic CommentsThis is the only species of Eriogonum in NC. There are many dozens of species in the genus in the Western states.

Other Common Name(s)Sandhill Wild Buckwheat, Southern Wild-buckwheat, Dogtongue Wild-buckwheat
State RankSH
Global RankG5
State StatusSC-H
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. Sorriesame data. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
B.A. SorriePhoto taken 1996 in Escambia County, AL. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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