Rubber Rabbitbrush/Rabbit Buckwheat

(3) Rubber Rabbitbrush /Rabbit Buckwheat Plant Community
(Ericameria nauseosus/Eriogonum brevicaule)

Getting There»

PLANT LIST for Rubber Rabbitbrush /Rabbit Buckwheat Plant Community»

Rabbit Buckwheat <i>(Eriogonum brevicaule)</i> (photo, S. Durney) Rabbit Buckwheat (Eriogonum brevicaule) (photo, S. Durney)
Our species of interest for this guide is the second one in this plant community. DeVelice and Lesica regard this plant community as one of the two most threatened in the Pryor Mountains. (1)» Rabbit Buckwheat is an unusual and overlooked cespitose (cushion-like) perennial that is quite striking and beautiful in color.

Rabbit Buckwheat is a loose spreading woody-based perennial species of Eriogonum with an open umbel of yellow flowers on each stalk. Its flowering period is from June to September, but June is the best time to witness them flowering. Plants grow in rocky clay soils typical of badlands or on exposed ridges and slopes of valleys. Plants in Montana are of the canum variety and endemic to south-central Montana. The Pryor Mountains have the highest density of rabbit buckwheat in Montana. Rabbit buckwheat’s distribution extends into Colorado, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

Rubber Rabbitbrush/Rabbit Buckwheat vegetation community is found in rolling hill badlands with clay soils. (photo, S. Durney) Rubber Rabbitbrush/Rabbit Buckwheat vegetation community is found in rolling hill badlands with clay soils. (photo, S. Durney)
The particular Rubber Rabbitbrush/Rabbit Buckwheat community that we used as a long-term monitoring site is on the south side of the Pryor Mountains between Crooked Creek Road on the west and Penney Peak on the east. The area is composed of rolling hills with seasonal drainages throughout. Flash flooding occurs during spring snowmelt. The community does not contain any roads or established trails and is only accessible by foot. Thirty-eight plant species were documented in the sampling community with one, Halogeton (Halogeton glomeratus), non-native to Montana.

DeVelice and Lesica warn that over-grazing by livestock on fragile lands occupied by this plant community may irreversibly harm its integrity and ecosystem structure and function. (2)»

Return to the main Botanical Guide to Special Places in the Pryors.

Cushion Buckwheat <i>(Eriogonum ovalifolium)</i> (photo, S. Durney) Cushion Buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium) (photo, S. Durney)

Refer the printable Botanical Guide version of the Pryor Mountain Map Set.

Parking area beside Crooked Creek Rd. for Rubber Rabbitbrush/Rabbit Buckwheat community. Parking area beside Crooked Creek Rd. for Rubber Rabbitbrush/Rabbit Buckwheat community.
Parking for the rabbit buckwheat community (#3) is located beside Crooked Creek Rd about 2.5 miles north of its junction with Helt Rd. and 3.8 miles south of the USFS/BLM boundary fence Park on the east side of the road just south of an obvious small rocky canyon.

It is about ¼ mile (straight line) 30 degrees south of east from the parking spot to the rabbit buckwheat community site. There is no trail. Either wind through the interesting canyon bottom, or walk a more straight path on top, south of the canyon. After a about 200 yards (350 yards in the winding canyon bottom) the route crosses a substantial north to south dry wash. Continue walking about 30 degrees south of east over rolling hills for another 250 yards.

Parking: GPS Coordinates: N 45.03976, W 108.41541

Canyon bottom walking route to Rubber Rabbitbrush/Rabbit Buckwheat community. (photo, S. Durney) Canyon bottom walking route to Rubber Rabbitbrush/Rabbit Buckwheat community. (photo, S. Durney)
Study site: GPS Coordinates: N 45.0381°, W 108.4108°.
Elevation: about 4,780 feet.

(Site #3 is about 2.0 miles south of plant community #4.)

"P" - Parking area. "3" - Rubber Rabbitbrush/Rabbit Buckwheat community.


* Non-Natives

Trees
Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma)

Shrubs
Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)
Rubber Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa)
Broom Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)
Winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata)
Hood’s Phlox (Phlox hoodii)
Moss Phlox (Phlox muscoides)
Skunkbush Sumac or Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica)

Forbs
Hooker’s Sandwort (Arenaria hookeri)
Summer Milkvetch or Summer Orophaca (Astragalus hyalinus)
Milkvetch (Astragalus sp.)
Bastard Toadflax (Comandra umbellata)
Cocks-comb Cat’s-eye or Northern Cryptantha (Cryptantha celosioides)
Rabbit Buckwheat (Eriogonum brevicaule)
Imperfect Wild Buckwheat (Eriogonum mancum)
Oval-leaved Buckwheat or Cushion Buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium)
Common Woolly Sunflower or Common Eriophyllum (Eriophyllum lanatum)
Boreal Sweet-vetch or Northern Hedysarum (Hedysarum boreale)
Spiked Ipomopsis or Spicate Gilia (Ipomopsis spicata)
White-Stem stickleaf (Mentzelia albicaulis)
Plains Prickly-Pear (Opuntia polyacantha)
Low Nailwort or Stemless Whitlow-Wort (Paronychia sessiliflora)
Common Twinpod (Physaria didymocarpa)
Basin Daisy (Platyschkuhria integrifolia)
Scarlet Globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea)
Desert Princesplume or Bushy Stanleya (Stanleya pinnata var. pinnata)
Desert wirelettuce or Runcinate-Leaved Skeletonweed (Stephanomeria runcinata)
Stemless Four-nerve-daisy or Stemless Hymenoxys (Tetraneuris acaulis)
Hooker’s Townsend-daisy (Townsendia hookeri)
Hoary Townsend-daisy (Townsendia incana)
Sword Townsend-daisy (Townsendia spathulata)
Rough Mule’s Ears (Wyethia scabra)
Rayless Tansy-aster (Xanthisma grindelioides)
* Halogeton (Halogeton glomeratus)

Grasses
Bluebunch Wheatgrass (Agropyron spicatum)
Purple (or Red) Three-awn (Aristida purpurea)
Bottlebrush Squirrel-tail (Elymus elymoides)
Indian Ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides)

(1994), in their report, Vegetation Map of the Rare Plant Community Types in the Pryor Mountains and Pryor Mountain Desert, Carbon County, Montana (MNHP publication)
(1993) in their report, Plant community classification for vegetation on BLM lands, Pryor Mountains, Carbon County, Montana published by the Montana Natural Heritage program.