134. Eriogonum androsaceum Bentham in A. P. de Candolle and A. L. P. P. de Candolle, Prodr. 14: 9. 1856.
Rock-jasmine wild buckwheat
Eriogonum flavum Nuttall subsp. androsaceum (Bentham) S. Stokes
Herbs, matted, 0.5-3 dm wide, tomentose to floccose. Stems: caudex spreading; aerial flowering stems ascending to erect, slender, solid, not fistulose, arising at nodes of caudex branches and at distal nodes of short, non-flowering aerial branches, (0.1-)0.3-0.7(-1) dm, tomentose to floccose or subglabrous. Leaves basal, occasionally in rosettes; petiole 0.3-1.5 cm, tomentose; blade narrowly elliptic, (0.5-)1-2 × 0.2-0.5 cm, densely white-lanate or grayish-tomentose abaxially, floccose and green adaxially, margins entire, usually slightly revolute. Inflorescences subcapitate or umbellate, 0.5-1.5 × 0.3-2 cm; branches tomentose to floccose; bracts 5-7, semileaflike at proximal node, 0.4-1 × 0.1-0.3 cm, often absent immediately below involucre. Involucres 1 per node, narrowly turbinate to turbinate-campanulate, 3-5 × 3-4.5 mm, tomentose to floccose; teeth 5-8, erect, 0.2-0.5 mm. Flowers (3.5-)4-5(-6.5) mm, including 0.1-0.2 mm stipelike base; perianth pale yellow, sparsely pubescent abaxially; tepals monomorphic, narrowly oblong; stamens exserted, 4-5 mm; filaments pilose proximally. Achenes light brown, (3-)4-6 mm, glabrous.
Flowering Jul-Aug. Sandy to gravelly or rocky to talus slopes, ridges, and outcrops, mixed grassland, sagebrush, or alpine meadow communities, montane conifer woodlands; 1700-2700 m; Alta.; Mont.
Eriogonum androsaceum is common in the high northern Rocky Mountains in southern Alberta and northwestern Montana (Glacier, Lincoln, Park, Pondera, and Teton counties). It is clearly related to E. flavum but is sufficiently distinct to merit recognition as a species. It is seen occasionally in cultivation but deserves more horticultural attention.
A decoction of the rock-jasmine wild buckwheat was used in sweatbaths for rheumatism, and for internal pain by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia (E. V. Steedman 1930). Interestingly, Steedman indicated also that a strong decoction of the plants was used for syphilis.