California buckwheat a staple for wildlife

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Native California buckwheat is drought tolerant, an important nectar source for bees and beautiful to look at. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
The hot, dreary days of summer are beginning to brighten with colorful displays put on by the California buckwheat shrubs found throughout the Anza Valley. While not a wheat species, this plant is nevertheless interesting, pretty and beneficial to nature and man. Eriogonum fasciculatum, commonly called California buckwheat, is native to the southwestern United States. This hardy shrub grows naturally on slopes and canyons in chaparral and dry washes from San Diego County to Marin County in California. It is also found in Utah, Arizona, and northwest Mexico. Easily recognizable, the California buckwheat forms a compact, spreading bush that can grow up to 6 feet in height and 9 feet across. The tiny leaves grow in clusters at nodes along the branches and are leathery, fuzzy under
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