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Mt. Diablo Wild Buckwheat

Rediscovering a Plant from a Bygone Era

Mount Diablo Wild Buckwheat

Eriogonum truncatum

In May, 2005 the presumed extinct Mount Diablo Wild Buckwheat was rediscovered by Michael Park, graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to this event, the plant was last recorded and collected in 1936 by Mary L. Bowerman, author of the Flowering Plants and Ferns of Mount Diablo California and co-founder of Save Mount Diablo. The seven existing plant records from 1862 - 1936 are, for the most part, from the Contra Costa area; there is one record from Solano County. The plant was first recorded in 1862 by William H. Brewer, a member of Josiah Whitney's California Geological Survey from 1860 - 1867.

Existing in a miniscule location of Mount Diablo State Park, the small plant ranges in size from three to eight inches high. The stalks form upward branches in a unique wishbone pattern with flowers at the base node and upwards at the ends of each wishbone. The illustration was accomplished by microscopic examination of pressed available specimens (1862 to present) at the University and Jepson Herbaria.
A debt of gratitude, for his generous sharing of expertise, is owed to James L. Reveal, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland, Honorary Curator, New York Botanic Garden, and author of Taxonomic Treatment of Eriogonoideae (Polygonaceae) in North America. In addition, guidance and comments provided by Michael Park are deeply appreciated. Very fine photo reference from Seth Adams, Director of Land Programs, Save Mount Diablo, Michael Park, John Game, and Scott Hein provided information on plant habit, proportion, and color.

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