Botanist's Glossary

Buckwheat - Fagopyrum esculentum

  • Description
    • Buckwheat is a pretty annual plant that grows up to 20 to 60 cm. It has straight, reddish stems and arrowhead-shaped leaves with a pointed tip. Its netar-rich flowers are pink in color, with five lobes. Its fruits are blackish and shaped like small pyramids with three angles. This pseudo-cereal originates from central Asia and was known for its pollen during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. In France, it was not known for its grain until the late Middle Ages. Buckwheat is grown in low-fertility and "cold" soils.
  • Traditions
    • Buckwheat was an important food ingredient in northern Eurasia: the Russians used it to make "kasha", while in Brittany it is the "black wheat" used in savory crepes called "galettes". In today's food industry, buckwheat is being "relaunched" as a substitute for cereals, as it is gluten-free.
  • Properties
    • Buckwheat wax is rich in phytosterols and used for its anti-puffiness properties.