Eriogonum kennedyi var. alpigenum is one of five varieties of Kennedy’s buckwheat.
This variety, commonly called San Gorgonio wild buckwheat, is found in subalpine to alpine areas of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains in California. It is differentiated from other varieties of Eriogonum kennedyi primarily by its range, but also by its scapes (.3-2cm), leaf blade (2-4 x .7-1.5mm), and involucres (1.5-2mm).
The broader species, Eriogonum kennedyi, has a cushion-forming habit. Of the five varieties, four are endemic to California with the fifth occurring in western central Nevada in addition to California. Like other species of Eriogonum, Eriogonum kennedyi is important to native bees and butterflies (the species is a host for many butterfly species including the Mormon metalmark (Apodemia mormo), bramble hairstreak (Callophrys perplexa), and Comstock’s hairstreak (Callophryssheridanii comstocki)). Kennedy’s buckwheat has 1cm long green leaves that are coated in brown to pink or white tomentose (matted hairs), giving the leaves a woolly, light appearance. In July to August, plants of Eriogonum kennedyi send up .4-15cm tall scapes bearing heads of delicate pink and white flowers. In late summer, the fruit on the scapes are dry, brown achenes.