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buckwheat

buckwheat, common name for certain members of the Polygonaceae, a family of herbs and shrubs found chiefly in north temperate areas and having a characteristic pungent juice containing oxalic acid. Species native to the United States are most common in the West. The largest genus of the family, Polygonum (or Persicaria), contains the knotweeds and the smartweeds, found in many parts of the world. The common smartweed (P. hydropiper) is an annual sometimes called water pepper for its acrid quality. Several species of the dock genus (Rumex) are sorrels (the common name used also for the similarly acrid but unrelated oxalis). The garden, or green, sorrel (R. acetosa) and the sheep, red, or field sorrel (R. acetosella) have long been used in Europe for salads and greens. Among the plants used as potherbs are the patience or spinach dock (R. patientia) and the tanner's dock (R. hymenosepalus); the latter is the source of canaigre, a substance used for tanning. Economically the important members of the family are of the rhubarb genus (Rheum) and the buckwheat genus (Fagopyrum), both native to Asia. Most of the rhubarb cultivated for the edible thick, fleshy leafstalks is R. rhaponticum, called also pieplant and wine plant. Medicinal rhubarb is obtained from this and other species of the genus. The cultivated buckwheat (F. esculentum) has been grown in the Old World since the Middle Ages as a honey plant and for its characteristic three-cornered grain, which is utilized for poultry and stock feed. Buckwheat flour is used in the United States, Japan, and eastern Europe; the plant is sown as a cover crop and is a food staple. The genus Eriogonum includes the wild, or yellow, buckwheat (E. alleni), restricted to the Appalachian shale barrens, and many Western species, e.g., the desert trumpet (E. inflatum), a desert flower of arid plains and plateaus. The interesting genus Koenigia has only one species, but it is found in the Arctic, in the Himalayas, and in Tierra del Fuego. Buckwheat is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Polygonales, family Polygonaceae.

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buckwheat

buckwheat A cereal, the grains of Fagopyrum esculentum and other species, also known as Saracen corn, and, when cooked, as kasha (Russian). It is unsuitable for bread making, and is eaten as the cooked grain, a porridge, or baked into pancakes. A 100‐g portion is a good source of protein, niacin, and vitamin B1; a source of vitamin B2; supplies 350 kcal (1470 kJ).

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buckwheat

buck·wheat / ˈbəkˌ(h)wēt/ • n. an Asian plant (Fagopyrum esculentum) of the dock family. Cultivated in the US, it produces starchy seeds that are used for fodder and milled into flour.

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buckwheat

buckwheat ceral of genus Fagopyrum. XVI. — MDu. boecweite, MLG. bōkwēte (LG. bookweten), f. boek, bōk (see BEECH) + weite WHEAT.

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buckwheat

buckwheat See POLYGONACEAE.

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buckwheat

buckwheat •spreadsheet • mainsheet • flysheet •time sheet • broadsheet •groundsheet • flowsheet • news-sheet •dust sheet • worksheet •aesthete (US esthete) • wholewheat •meadowsweet • buckwheat •bittersweet

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Buckwheat

Buckwheat

Buckwheat , Fagopyrum esculentum, is not really a wheat at allit belongs to the family Polygonaceae, and hence is a dicotyledonous plant, not a monocotyledonous species. However, the starchy seeds of buckwheat are utilized in much the same way as the cereal grains of cultivated grasses, such as wheat (Triticum aestivum ).

Buckwheat seeds can be used directly as poultry or animal feed. Processed, they can be cooked as porridge for humans, or they can be milled to yield a nutritious flour that can be made into a variety of foods, such as pancakes and biscuits. Technically, the seeds of buckwheat are achenes (simple, dry, one-celled, one-seeded fruits), as they are surrounded by dry, brown fruit coats, and are slightly winged.

Fagopyrum esculentum was probably derived from the wild species F. cymosum, a perennial species with rhizomes (underground storage organs) that occurs naturally in China and northern India. Buckwheat has been cultivated in China for about 1, 500 years, and was introduced to Europe (via Germany) in the fifteenth century, and arrived in England about AD 1600. From Europe it was taken to the American colonies and to Africa. The production of buckwheat has been declining in countries where it has been popular in the recent past, such as the former Soviet Union, France, and the United States, but against this trend, production has increased in Canada since the 1960s.

Cultivated buckwheat is an annual plant that grows well in poor soils, reaching a height of about 24 inches (60 cm). Another attractive feature to farmers is the excellent resistance of buckwheat to many insect pests and diseases. Possession of such resistance is fortunate, since breeding for improvements by conventional methods has proved to be difficult.

See also Crops.

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Buckwheat

Buckwheat

Buckwheat, Fagopyrum esculentum, is not really a wheat at all—it belongs to the family Polygonaceae, and hence is a dicotyledonous plant , not a monocotyledonous species . However, the starchy seeds of buckwheat are utilized in much the same way as the cereal grains of cultivated grasses , such as wheat (Triticum aestivum).

The seeds of buckwheat can be used directly as poultry or animal feed. Processed, the seeds can be cooked as porridge for humans, or they can be milled to yield a nutritious flour that can be made into a variety of foods, such as pancakes and biscuits. Technically, the seeds of buckwheat are achenes (simple, dry, one-celled, one-seeded fruits ), as they are surrounded by dry, brown fruit coats, and are slightly winged.

Fagopyrum esculentum was probably derived from the wild species F. cymosum, a perennial species with rhizomes (underground storage organs) that occurs naturally in China and northern India. Buckwheat has been cultivated in China for about 1,500 years, and was introduced to Europe (via Germany) in the fifteenth century, and arrived in England about a.d. 1600. From Europe it was taken to the American colonies and to Africa . The production of buckwheat has been declining in countries where it has been popular in the recent past, such as the former Soviet Union, France and the United States, but against this trend, production has increased in Canada since the 1960s.

Cultivated buckwheat is an annual plant that grows well in poor soils, reaching a height of about 24 in (60 cm). Another attractive feature to farmers is the excellent resistance of buckwheat to many insect pests and diseases. Possession of such resistance is fortunate, since breeding for improvements by conventional methods has proved to be difficult.

See also Crops.

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