The name buckwheat means different things in different places, but in North America it refers to plants in the genus Eriogonum. This is large genus, including mat-forming alpines and shrubs, and everything in between. They come mainly from hot, summer-dry regions, and have silvery-grey, finely hairy leaves, as in common in such habitats. However, it is our relatively warm, wet winters that are not good for some of them. But with cover in an alpine house or greenhouse, or outside with winter protection, the alpine kinds can make most attractive plants. In some species the flowers, which come in clusters are tiny, so they look like little coloured buttons, but in others they are larger, giving spherical heads. The flowers are often yellow or white, but may also be pink, red or orange, and can vary from plant to plant of the same species, or even with time on the same plant.