Chumash: tswana'ał 'išup Español: Poleo, Alforfon, Flor de Borrego
Origin: Chaparral, deserts, and mountains of central and Southern California
Flower Color: White or pinkish, united at base. Turn reddish brown in summer and fall months
Bloomtime: April to October
Drought Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation: Low water needs
If you sit long enough and watch a California Buckwheat, you will see layers of predators. You will see the native bees, the flower flies and wasps, then predators of the flower insects, then insect predators of the predators, and then a bird would show up and eat the predator of the predator, and then a butterfly would fly into the middle of the fray. In a small garden you can sit a couple feet away from this shrub and watch 50 or maybe 100 insects interact at one time.
California Buckwheat, has flowers, leaves, and seeds that are all used by butterflies and small birds. White flowers come on in late spring, gradually turn pink in summer, then rust colored in fall. The rusty flowers commonly stay on until the next spring. Many Native American tribes utilize parts of this plant for a number of medicinal uses, including the treatment of headache, diarrhea, and wounds. The Zuni people make a poultice of powdered root and apply it to cuts and wounds. Bees foraging on it produce a very high quality honey.