Buckwheat

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum, a herbaceous plant of the same family as rhubarb, sorrel, and dock, is grown for its seeds; these resemble those of cereals. Being hardy, growing quickly even in unfavourable conditions, and capable of producing two or even three crops a year, it is most used in regions with cold climates or poor soils where true cereals do not grow well. For many centuries it was a vital food source for the inhabitants of mountainous regions of Japan where the climate is too cold, the soil too poor, and the land too limited for growing rice. Countries of the former Soviet Union now account for 90 per cent of world production.