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A field of buckwheat plants

A field of buckwheat plants

C035/9309

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Credit

MARTYN F. CHILLMAID / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTYN F. CHILLMAID / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb. Rich in complex carbohydrates, it is referred to as a pseudo cereal. Buckwheat is cultivated in poor soil and production declined sharply in the 20th century as other staples increased their productivity with the increased use of nitrogen fertilizer. Blinis, noodles and savory crepes (Breton pancakes), rely on its distinctive flour. France has production on the west coast but the big producers are China, Russia and the Ukraine. It can also be sown with other crops as a summer-grown green manure to form dense foliage that will effectively suppress weeds.

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