California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Ione Buckwheat (Eriogonum apricum var. apricum)

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Eriogonum apricum var. apricum, © Steve Matson

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

Ione 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 also includes the subspecies Eriogonum apricum var. prostratum (Irish hill buckwheat) is listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Ione buckwheat is a perennial herb with very small, clustered, red and white flowers that typically bloom between July and October, a later blooming period than its closely related subspecies Irish Hill buckwheat. Ione buckwheat and Irish Hill buckwheat are not found within the same locations. At the time this webpage was posted, the California Natural Diversity Database listed five occurrences of Ione buckwheat presumed to still exist, and one occurrence that has been extirpated. Ione buckwheat is only known to occur in Amador County. One occurrence is on Bureau of Land Management land, and one is on CDFW-owned Apricum Hill Ecological Reserve. The remaining occurrences are on privately owned land and are not afforded any permanent protections.

Loss of habitat from development and mining activities is considered to be a major threat to the continued existence of Ione buckwheat. Because Ione buckwheat populations are small and only five 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 Ione buckwheat in the wild. The status and extent of Ione buckwheat populations should first be determined, and the availability of habitat for restoration purposes should be assessed. Additionally, a management plan for Ione Buckwheat at Apricum Hill Ecological Reserve should be prepared and implemented. CDFW participated in a mapping effort for Ione buckwheat and other plant species endemic to the Ione formation through the federal Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (or Section 6), which resulted in a 2004 report titled Conservation and Recovery of Ione Endemic Plants: Mapping the Ione Plant Community. With a better understanding of the current status of the species, methods may then be identified to reduce the threats of extinction.

CDFW may issue permits for Ione buckwheat pursuant to CESA, and you can learn more about the California laws protecting Ione buckwheat and other California native plants. Populations of Ione 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 

For more information on any of the topics above, please contact nativeplants@wildlife.ca.gov.

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