CPC Plant Profile: Dakota Buckwheat
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Plant Profile

Dakota Buckwheat (Eriogonum visheri)

The spindly Dakota wild buckwheat, growing on a barren slope in South Dakota's Badlands National Park Photo Credit: J. Locklear
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Polygonaceae
  • State: MT, ND, SD
  • Nature Serve ID: 134512
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 05/28/1986

The gullied ridges and eroded hills of South Dakota's Badlands National Park have the character of a moonscape. Almost no plant life can be found on these barren slopes, except the Dakota wild buckwheat, a wiry, inconspicuous little plant that makes a home in the badlands of North and South Dakota and adjacent Montana. An annual that completes its life cycle in one year, the Dakota wild buckwheat can occupy the constantly eroding badland habitat that otherwise provides unstable footing for longer-lived plants.

Participating Institutions
  • 10/10/2020
  • Propagation Research

Successfully propagated from seed using scarification pretreatment (Nebraska Statewide Arboretum).

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Great Plains regional endemic known from fewer than 100 element occurrences in South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana. Potentially threatened and vulnerable locally.

Jim Locklear
  • 01/01/2010

Invasion of barren habitat by exotic weeds that compete with E. visheri.

Jim Locklear
  • 01/01/2010

Montana: one occurrence (Montana Natural Heritage Program 2002). North Dakota: 14 populations (NatureServe 2001). South Dakota: 79 populations (NatureServe 2001).

Jim Locklear
  • 01/01/2010

Successfully propagated from seed using scarification pretreatment (Nebraska Statewide Arboretum).

Jim Locklear
  • 01/01/2010

Population monitoring. Longevity of seed in soil.


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Taxon Eriogonum visheri
Authority A. Nels.
Family Polygonaceae
CPC Number 1802
ITIS 21275
Common Names Dakota wild buckwheat | Visher's buckwheat | Visher's wild buckwheat
Associated Scientific Names Eriogonum visheri
Distribution Centered in western South Dakota (Corson, Hardin, Jackson, Meade, Mellette, Pennington, Perkins and Ziebach counties), to western North Dakota (Billings, Golden Valley, Grant, McKenzie, Montrail, Siou
State Rank
State State Rank
Montana S1
North Dakota S2S3
South Dakota S3

Barren shale and clay outcrops of badlands, eroded hillsides, slopes of bluffs, and outwash fans at the base of slopes. Gravelly, clayey soils. Soils have high shrink-swell potential, are strongly calcareous and high in sodium, all of which may limit competition and succession. Typical habitat is at least 50% bare soil. Surrounding vegetation is mixed grass prairie. Elevation 1900-3100 ft.

Ecological Relationships

The most closely related species, Eriogonum aliquantum, occurs in similar habitat in northeastern New Mexico (Reveal 1976).

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Hymenoptera Floral Visitor Link

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