Eriogonum inflatum (Torr and Frèm)

By Justin Ladd, Native plants 2003
Common Name:
Desert Trumpet, Bladder Stem, Indian Pipe Weed, Cigarette Plant
Family: Polygonacea
Genus is Greek and means wooly knee, referring to the hairy nodes in some species. Specific epithet refers to the swollen part of the stem meaning inflated or flared (2).

Growth form:
Forb/Herb vascular plant ranging in height from 4-40 inches. (7)
Branching trichotomously or more above first joint to form an umbrella like rounded top, usually as wide as plant is tall. Stems are usually not very woody. (1, 11)
Leaves: Dark green oval long stemmed up 2 inches long (10).
Inflorescence/flowers: Flower is very small about 1/8 inch wide cream yellow in flaring clusters (1)
Similar species: Eriogonum deflatum (Torr and Frèm), Eriogonum deflatum can be distinguished from Eriogonum inflatum by the deflated portion of the stem.

Life history:
Perennial Forb/ Herb (7)
Native/Introduced: Native (7)
Photosynthetic pathway:
Blooms February through October. The main growing season is spring and fall. (10)
Distribution: Grows only below 3500 feet in deserts, rocky and sandy slopes. Found in California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. (10, 1, 7)

The seeds are of forage value to birds and rodents, bees can make the nectar into honey. Wasps are known to drill holes in the hollow inflated stems and fill the hollows with captured insect larvae and lay their eggs in the hollow. It has also been said that lotion made out of the plant can be used for bear and dog bites. (1, 10)

1. Barnyard, E.S., Yates, S.F. 1998. North American Wildlife, Wildflowers. The Readers Digest Association, Inc.

2. Elmore, F.H. 1976. Shrubs and Trees of the Southwest Uplands. Southwest Parks and Monuments Association. Tucson, AZ

3. Roach, A.W. 1982. Outdoor Plants of the Southwest. Taylor Publishing Company.

4. Blackwell, W.H. 1990. Poisonous and Medicinal Plants. Prentice Hall Englewood Cliffs.

5. Critteden, M. 1977. Trees of the West. Celestial Arts

6. Bowers, J.E. 1993. Shrubs and Trees of the Southwest Deserts Southwest Parks and Monuments Association Tucson, AZ

7. USDA Natural Resource Conservation Plants Profile

8. Ruyle, G., Young, D. 1997. Arizona Range Grasses. Cooperative Extension College of agriculture the University of A.Z. Tucson, AZ.

9. Barkworth, M., Capels, K. 2003. Flora of N. America 2-5. New York Oxford. Oxford university press.

10. Epple, A. 1995. Field Guide to the Plants of AZ. Lew Ann publishing company mesa AZ.

11. Wiggins, I. 1964. Vegetation and Flora of the Sonoran Desert Volume 1. Stanford University press.

12. Millspaugh. 1974. American Medicinal Plants. Dover Publications, New York, N.Y.

13. Hill, D.G. 2002. Names of Plants 3rd Edition. Cambridge University Press.