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Eriogonum inflatum (Desert trumpet)
Cressler, Alan

Eriogonum inflatum

Eriogonum inflatum Torr. & Frém.

Desert Trumpet, Indian Pipeweed, Bladderstem, Bottle Stopper

Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)


USDA Symbol: ERIN4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This usually 1-3 ft. species is often considered a desert annual, but the root may tap deeply enough to carry it over for a few seasons. A spindly plant with 1 or few leafless, erect stems swollen just below branches. Spoon-shaped leaves lie flat against the ground and send up forked and reforked branches, the main branches conspicuously inflated. From branch tips are borne small, graceful clusters of yellow-green, tubular flowers.

This is a common desert plant, conspicuous because of the stark, swollen, gray-green stems, which have a pleasant sour taste. Dried stems were used by Native Americans as tobacco pipes, hence one of its common names.


From the Image Gallery

101 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall, often shorter.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Yellow , Green
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec
Bloom Notes: Yellow with greenish or reddish midribs.


USA: AZ , CA , CO , NM , NV , UT
Native Distribution: W. CO & AZ to deserts of s. CA & Baja; reported on desert hills of WY
Native Habitat: Deserts washes & mesas below 6000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Drought tolerant.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Propagate by seed.
Seed Collection: The three-sided achene can be hand-stripped from the plant.
Seed Treatment: Seeds of this genus generally germinate without pretreatment but in such a large genus, a variety of germination responses can be expected.
Commercially Avail: yes

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Eriogonum inflatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Eriogonum inflatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Eriogonum inflatum


Record Modified: 2023-02-09
Research By: TWC Staff

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