Kennedy's wild buckwheat
The southern Sierra Nevada, California, and a small part of western Nevada
Open, gravelly locations, from 5,000 to 11,500 feet
Basal, stalked, tomentose; blade is oblong to oblanceolate, up to 0.4 inches long
Eriogonum kennedyi is one of many buckwheat species with hairy, matted, basal leaves and tight, head-shaped flower clusters. Plants are found across the central and southern Sierra Nevada, and the mountains of southern California. Leaf blades are relatively small, less than half an inch long, attached by similar length stalks. Leaves are usually basal, but there may also be one or two sheathing stem leaves. The tomentose leaf hairs may be white, greyish or slightly reddish.
The inflorescence is an unbranched cluster, held well above the leaves. Flowers are formed of six tepals, white to pale pink, with brownish median stripes. Tepals are fused towards the base. The six stamens are exserted; they have slender white filaments and purplish anthers.
There are six varieties of eriogonum kennedyi; most widespread is var purpusii of the Sierra Nevada and adjacent areas, characterized by white leaf hairs and a dense, matted appearance. The other varieties (pinicola, alpigenum, kennedyi and austromontanum) have a more open appearance, and darker leaf hairs; they occur in the southern California mountains.