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Common Buckwheat
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Fagopyrum
Species: F. esculentum
Binomial name
Fagopyrum esculentum
Moench

Buckwheat refers to plants in two genera of the dicot family Polygonaceae: the Eurasian genus Fagopyrum, and the North American genus Eriogonum. The crop plant, common buckwheat, is Fagopyrum esculentum. Tartary buckwheat (F. tataricum Gaertn.) or "bitter buckwheat" is also used as a crop, but it is much less common. Despite the common name and the grain-like use of the crop, buckwheat is not a cereal or grass. It is called a pseudocereal to emphasize that it is not related to wheat.

The agricultural weed known as Wild Buckwheat (Fallopia convolvulus) is in the same family, but not closely related to the crop species. Within Fagopyrum, the cultivated species are in the cymosum group, with F. cymosum L. (perennial buckwheat), F. giganteum and F. homotropicum.[1] The wild ancestor of common buckwheat is F. esculentum ssp.ancestrale. F. homotropicum is interfertile with F. esculentum and the wild forms have a common distribution, in Yunnan. The wild ancestor of tartary buckwheat is F. tataricum ssp. potanini.[2]

Contents

Etymology

The name 'buckwheat' or 'beech wheat' comes from its triangular seeds, which resemble the much larger seeds of the beech nut from the beech tree, and the fact that it is used like wheat. The etymology of the word is explained as partial translation of Middle Dutch boecweite : boek, beech; see PIE bhago- + weite, wheat.[3]

History

Common Buckwheat in flower

Common buckwheat was domesticated and first cultivated in southeast Asia, possibly around 6000 BC, and from there spread to Europe and to Central Asia and Tibet. Domestication most likely took place in the western Yunnan region of China.[4] Buckwheat is documented in Europe in the Balkans by at least the Middle Neolithic (circa 4000 BC) and the oldest known remains in China so far date to circa 2600 BC, and buckwheat pollen has been found in Japan from as early as 4000 BC. It is the world's highest elevation domesticate, being cultivated in Yunnan on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau or on the Plateau itself. Buckwheat was one of the earliest crops introduced by Europeans to North America. Dispersal around the globe was complete by 2006, when a variety developed in Canada was widely planted in China.

Buckwheat is a short season crop that does well on low-fertility or acidic soils, but the soil must be well drained. Too much fertilizer, especially nitrogen, will reduce yields. In hot climates, it can only be grown by sowing late in the season, so that it will bloom in cooler weather. The presence of pollinators greatly increases the yield. The nectar from buckwheat flower makes a dark colored honey. Buckwheat is sometimes used as a green manure, as a plant for erosion control, or as wildlife cover and feed.

Agricultural production

Buckwheat output in 2006
Seed and wither flower of buckwheat

Common buckwheat is by far the most important buckwheat species, economically, accounting for over 90% of the world's buckwheat production.

A century ago, Russia was the world leader in buckwheat production.[5] Growing areas in the Russian Empire were estimated at 6.5 million acres (26,000 km²), followed by those of France (0.9 million acres; 3,500 km²).[6] In 1970 the Soviet Union grew an estimated 4.5 million acres (18,000 km²) of buckwheat. China was then the world's top producer until 2005, with Russia becoming once again the top producer after 2007.

Ukraine, France, Poland, Kazakhstan, the United States and Brazil are also significant producers of buckwheat. In the northeastern United States, buckwheat was a common crop in the 18th and 19th centuries. Cultivation declined sharply in the 20th century due the use of nitrogen fertilizer, to which maize and wheat respond strongly. Over a million acres (4,000 km²) were harvested in the United States in 1918. By 1954 that had declined to 150,000 acres (600 km²), and by 1964, the last year that production statistics were gathered, only 50,000 acres (200 km²) were grown.

Japan, Lithuania, Belarus, Latvia, Bhutan, Canada, and Moldova also grow significant quantities of buckwheat, for the production of both food wheat and agricultural seed. Other producers of lower quantities include South Korea, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, Croatia and Georgia, but they no longer produce the seed needed for their harvested areas.

Woldwide buckwheat production
(s : semi-official data — e : estimated data — a : aggregated from official and estimated data)
Source: FAO statistics [1]
Buckwheat Cultivated area
(hectares)
Yield
(hectograms/ha)
Production
(tonnes)
Seed
(tonnes)
Countries 2005 2007 2005 2007 2005 2007 2005
 Russia 833 600 1 305 000 7 265 e 7 700 e 605 640 1 004 850 69 500 s
 China 834 000 e 900 000 e 8 992 8 888 750 000 e 800 000 e 87 570 e
 Ukraine 396 200 237 000 6 933 e 6 751 e 274 700 160 000 20 500 s
 France 36 593 32 945 33 945 e 35 558 e 124 217 117 148 3 293 e
 Poland 67 531 90 000 e 10 675 e 9 777 e 72 096 88 000 e 5 500 e
 Kazakhstan 55 000 142 600 10 545 e 5 610 e 58 000 s 80 000 e 3 200 s
 United States 65 000 e 68 000 e 10 000 e 10 000 e 65 000 e 68 000 e 2 600 e
 Brazil 46 000 e 48 000 e 10 869 e 10 833 e 50 000 e 52 000 e 2 760 e
 Japan 44 700 44 600 e 6 979 e 7 623 e 31 200 34 000 e 1 341 e
 Lithuania 28 400 21 700 5 528 e 9 631 e 15 700 20 900 2 500 e
 Belarus 7 106 11 500 10 227 e 11 304 e 7 268 13 000 1 000 e
 Latvia 10 400 13 000 e 9 519 e 6 307 e 9 900 8 200 e
 Bhutan 4 500 e 4 600 e 14 888 e 14 782 e 6 700 6 800 e 360 e
 South Korea 2 257 2 650 e 9 937 e 11 320 e 2 243 3 000 e 90 e
 Canada 4 000 2 000 11 500 e 11 500 e 4 600 2 300 300 e
 Czech Republic 1 000 e 20 000 e 2 000 e 26 e
 Slovenia 811 809 17 916 e 9 406 e 1 453 761 52 e
 Hungary 752 800 e 6 156 e 5 000 e 463 400 e 60 e
 Estonia 676 314 7 174 e 9 554 e 485 300
 Slovakia 461 500 e 8 872 e 6 000 e 409 300 e
 Moldova 2 811 7 200 e 3 429 e 416 e 964 300 e 252 e
 Kyrgyzstan 378 600 e 9 179 e 8 333 e 347 500 e
 South Africa 1 000 e 1 000 e 3 000 e 3 000 e 300 e 300 e 65 e
 Croatia 45 e 31 111 e 140 e 2 e
 Georgia 100 e 100 e 10 000 e 10 000 e 100 s 100 e
World 2 443 321 a 2 934 918 a 8 529 e 8 385 e 2 083 925 a 2 461 159 a 200 974 a

Chemical composition

Seeds Starch 71–78% in groats

70–91% in different types of flour.[7][8][9]
Starch is 25% amylose and 75% amylopectin.
Depending on hydrothermal treatment buckwheat groats contain 7–37% of resistant starch.

  Proteins 18% with biological values above 90%.[10]

This can be explained by a high concentration of all essential amino acids[11], especially lysine, threonine, tryptophan, and the sulphur-containing amino acids.[12]

  Minerals Rich in iron (60–100 ppm), zinc (20–30 ppm) and selenium (20–50 ppb).[13][14]
  Antioxidants 10–200 ppm of rutin and 0.1–2% of tannins[15]
  Aromatic compounds Salicylaldehyde (2-hydroxybenzaldehyde) was identified as a characteristic component of buckwheat aroma[16]. 2,5-dimethyl-4-hydroxy-3(2H)-furanone, (E,E)-2,4-decadienal, phenylacetaldehyde, 2-methoxy-4-vinylphenol, (E)-2-nonenal, decanal and hexanal also contribute to its aroma. They all have odour activity value more than 50, but aroma of these substances in isolated state does not resemble buckwheat[17].
Herb Antioxidants 1–10% rutin and 1–10% tannins[18]
  Fagopyrin 0.4 to 0.6 mg/g of fagopyrins (at least 3 similar substances)[19][20]

Use

Buckwheat porridge
Soba noodles, made from buckwheat flour
Naengmyeon, Korean cold noodle soup made with buckwheat flour
A traditional Breton galette, a thin large buckwheat flour pancake

The fruit is an achene, similar to sunflower seed, with a single seed inside a hard outer hull. The starchy endosperm is white and makes up most or all of buckwheat flour. The seed coat is green or tan, which darkens buckwheat flour. The hull is dark brown or black, and some may be included in buckwheat flour as dark specks. The dark flour is known as 'blé noir' ('black wheat') in French, along with the name sarrasin ('saracen').

Buckwheat noodles play a major role in the cuisines of Japan (soba)[21], Korea (naengmyeon, makguksu and memil guksu) and the Valtellina region of Northern Italy (pizzoccheri). Soba noodles are the subject of deep cultural importance in Japan. In Korea, guksu (noodles) were widely made from buckwheat before it was replaced by wheat. The difficulty of making noodles from flour that has no gluten has resulted in a traditional art developed around their manufacture by hand.

Buckwheat groats are commonly used in western Asia and eastern Europe. The porridge was common, and is often considered the definitive peasant dish. It is made from roasted groats that are cooked with broth to a texture similar to rice or bulgur. The dish was brought to America by Russian and Polish immigrants who called it "kasha" and mixed it with pasta or used it as a filling for knishes and blintzes, and hence buckwheat groats are most commonly called kasha in America. Groats were the most widely used form of buckwheat worldwide during the 20th century, with consumption primarily in Russia, Ukraine and Poland.

Buckwheat pancakes, sometimes raised with yeast, are eaten in several countries. They are known as buckwheat blinis in Russia, galettes in France (savoury crêpes which are especially associated with Brittany), ployes in Acadia and boûketes (which are named after the buckwheat plant) in the Wallonia region of Belgium. Similar pancakes were a common food in American pioneer days. They are light and foamy. The buckwheat flour gives them an earthy, mildly mushroom-like taste. In Ukraine, yeast rolls called hrechanyky are made from buckwheat.

Farina made from groats are used for breakfast food, porridge, and thickening materials in soups, gravies, and dressings. In Korea, buckwheat starch is used to make a jelly called memilmuk. It is also used with wheat, maize (polenta taragna in Northern Italy) or rice in bread and pasta products.

Buckwheat contains no gluten[22] and can thus be eaten by people with coeliac disease or gluten allergies. Many bread-like preparations have been developed. However, Buckwheat can be a potent and potentially fatal allergen by itself. In sensitive people, it provokes IgE-mediated anaphylaxis[23]. The cases of anaphylaxis induced by buckwheat ingestion have been reported in Korea, Japan and Europe where it is more often described as an "hidden allergen"[24][25].

Buckwheat is a good honey plant, producing a dark, strong[26] monofloral honey.

Buckwheat greens can be eaten. However, if consumed in sufficient quantities, the greens, or, more commonly, their juice, can induce sensitization of the skin to sunlight known as fagopyrism.[27] Fair skinned people are particularly susceptible, as are light pigmented livestock. Enthusiasts of sprouting and raw food, however, eat the very young buckwheat sprouts (four to five days of growth) for their subtle, nutty flavour and high nutritional value. They are sometimes used in Japanese cuisine.[28]

Medicinal uses

Buckwheat contains a glucoside named rutin, a medicinal chemical that strengthens capillary walls, reducing hemorrhaging in people with high blood pressure and increasing microcirculation in people with chronic venous insufficiency.[29] Dried buckwheat leaves for tea were manufactured in Europe under the brand name "Fagorutin."

Buckwheat contains D-chiro-inositol, a component of the secondary messenger pathway for insulin signal transduction found to be deficient in Type II diabetes and Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It is being studied for use in treating Type II diabetes.[30] Research on D-chiro-inositol and PCOS has shown promising results.[31][32]

A buckwheat protein has been found to bind cholesterol tightly. It is being studied for reducing plasma cholesterol in people with hyperlipidemia.[33]

Upholstery filling

Buckwheat hulls are used as filling for a variety of upholstered goods, including pillows and zafu. The hulls are durable and do not conduct or reflect heat as much as synthetic fills. They are sometimes marketed as an alternative natural fill to feathers for those with allergies. However, medical studies to measure the health effects of buckwheat hull pillows concluded that buckwheat pillows do emit a potential allergen that may trigger asthma in susceptible individuals.[34][35]

Buckwheat and beer

In recent years, buckwheat has been used as a substitute for other grain in gluten free beer. Although it is not a cereal, buckwheat can be used in the same way as barley to produce a malt that can form the basis of a mash that will brew a beer without gliadin or hordein (together gluten) and therefore can be suitable for coeliacs or others sensitive to certain glycoproteins.[36]

Festivals

The buckwheat plant is celebrated in Kingwood, West Virginia at their Buckwheat Festival where people can participate in swine, cow, and sheep judging contests, vegetable contests, and craft fairs. The area fire departments also play an important role in the series of parades that occur there. Each year there is a King Buckwheat and Queen Ceres elected. Also there are many rides and homemade, homegrown buckwheat cakes and sausage.

On Hindu fasting days (Navaratri mainly, also Maha Shivaratri), people eat items made of buckwheat flour. The preparation varies across India. The famous ones are Kuttu Ki Puri and Kuttu Pakoras. In most of northern and western states they call this Kuttu ka atta .

Biocontrol

Buckwheat is currently being researched, and actively used, as a pollen and nectar source to increase natural predator numbers to control crop pests in New Zealand[37]

Agricultural Use

Buckwheat is raised for grain where a short season is available, either because it is used as a second crop in the season, or because the climate is limiting.

Buckwheat can be reliable cover crop in summer to fit a small slot of warm season for establishment. It establishes quickly, which suppresses summer weeds.

Recipes

See also

  • Eriogonum – North American wild buckwheat

References

  1. ^ T. Sharma, S. Jana (2002). "Species relationships in Fagopyrum revealed by PCR-based DNA fingerprinting". Theoretical and Applied Genetics 105 (2-3): 306–312. doi:10.1007/s00122-002-0938-9. PMID 12582533.  
  2. ^ Ohnishi, O., Matsuoka, Y. (1996). "Search for the wild ancestor of buckwheat II. Taxonomy of Fagopyrum (Polygonaceae) species based on morphology, isozymes and cpDNA variability". Genes and Genetic Systems 71: 383–390. doi:10.1266/ggs.71.383.  
  3. ^ http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=buckwheat Online Etymology Dictionary
  4. ^ Ohnishi, O (1998). "Search for the wild ancestor of buckwheat III. The wild ancestor of cultivated common buckwheat, and of tatary buckwheat". Economic Botany 52: 123–133.  
  5. ^ William Pokhlyobkin. "The Plight of Russian Buckwheat". http://vkus.narod.ru/raznoe/grechiha.htm.   (Russian) Title in Russian: Тяжёлая судьба русской гречихи
  6. ^ J. R. N. Taylor, P. S. Belton (2002). Pseudocereals and Less Common Cereals. Springer. p. 125. ISBN 3540429395.  
  7. ^ Skrabanja V, Kreft I, Golob T, Modic M, Ikeda S, Ikeda K, Kreft S, Bonafaccia G, Knapp M, Kosmelj K. (2004). "Nutrient content in buckwheat milling fractions". Cereal Chemistry 81 (2): 172–176. doi:10.1094/CCHEM.2004.81.2.172.  
  8. ^ Skrabanja V, Laerke HN, Kreft I (September 1998). "Effects of hydrothermal processing of buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) groats on starch enzymatic availability in vitro and in vivo in rats". Journal of Cereal Science 28 (2): 209–214. doi:10.1006/jcrs.1998.0200.  
  9. ^ Skrabanja V, Elmstahl HGML, Kreft I, Bjorck IME (January 2001). "Nutritional properties of starch in buckwheat products: Studies in vitro and in vivo". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 49 (1): 490–496. doi:10.1021/jf000779w. PMID 11170616.  
  10. ^ Eggum BO, Kreft I, Javornik B (1980). "Chemical-Composition and Protein-Quality of Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench)". Qualitas Plantarum-Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 30 (3-4): 175–179. doi:10.1007/BF01094020.  
  11. ^ Buckwheat Profile
  12. ^ Bonafaccia G, Marocchini M, Kreft I (2003). "Composition and technological properties of the flour and bran from common and tartary buckwheat". Food Chemistry 80 (1): 9–15. doi:10.1016/S0308-8146(02)00228-5.  
  13. ^ S. Ikeda, Y. Yamashita and I. Kreft (2000). "Essential mineral composition of buckwheat flour fractions". Fagopyrum 17: 57–61.  
  14. ^ Bonafaccia, L. Gambelli, N. Fabjan and I. Kreft (October 2003). "Trace elements in flour and bran from common and tartary buckwheat". Food Chemistry 83 (1): 1–5. doi:10.1016/S0308-8146(03)00228-0.  
  15. ^ Kreft S, Knapp M, Kreft I (November 1999). "Extraction of rutin from buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) seeds and determination by capillary electrophoresis". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 47 (11): 4649–4652. doi:10.1021/jf990186p. PMID 10552865.  
  16. ^ Janes D, Kreft S (2008). "Salicylaldehyde is a characteristic aroma component of buckwheat groats". Food Chemistry 109 (2): 293–298. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2007.12.032.  
  17. ^ Janes D, Kantar D, Kreft S, Prosen H (1. January 2009). "Identification of buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) aroma compounds with GC-MS". Food Chemistry 112 (1): 120–124. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2008.05.048.  
  18. ^ Kreft S, Strukelj B, Gaberscik A, Kreft I (August 2002). "Rutin in buckwheat herbs grown at different UV-B radiation levels: comparison of two UV spectrophotometric and an HPLC method". J Exp Bot 53 (375): 1801–4. doi:10.1093/jxb/erf032. PMID 12147730.  
  19. ^ Eguchi K, Anase T and Osuga H (2009). "Development of a High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Method to Determine the Fagopyrin Content of Tartary Buckwheat (Fagopyrum tartaricum Gaertn.) and Common Buckwheat (F. esculentum Moench)". Plant Production Science 12 (4): 475–480. doi:10.1626/pps.12.475.  
  20. ^ Ožbolt L, Kreft S, Kreft I, Germ M and Stibilj V (2008). "Distribution of selenium and phenolics in buckwheat plants grown from seeds soaked in Se solution and under different levels of UV-B radiation". Food Chemistry 110 (3): 691–696. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2008.02.073.  
  21. ^ P. S. Belton; John Reginald Nuttall Taylor (2002). Pseudocereals and Less Common Cereals : grain properties and utilization potential. Springer. p. 138. ISBN 3-540-42939-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=NRMdXx8fC8kC&pg=PA138&dq=soba+Japan#v=onepage&q=soba%20Japan&f=false.  
  22. ^ "Gluten Free Diet". Celiac Disease Center. University of Chicago. http://www.celiacdisease.net/gluten-free-diet. Retrieved 2009-03-31.  
  23. ^ Anaphylaxis to buckwheat. Schiffner R, Przybilla B, Burgdorff T, Landthaler M, Stolz W. Allergy. 2001 Oct;56(10):1020-1. PMID: 11576091
  24. ^ Murine model of buckwheat allergy by intragastric sensitization with fresh buckwheat flour extract. Lee SY, Oh S, Lee K, Jang YJ, Sohn MH, Lee KE, Kim KE. J Korean Med Sci. 2005 Aug;20(4):566-72. PMID: 16100445
  25. ^ Anaphylaxis after eating Italian pizza containing buckwheat as the hidden food allergen. Heffler E, Guida G, Badiu I, Nebiolo F, Rolla G. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2007;14(4):261-3. PMID: 17694699
  26. ^ http://vegetarian.lovetoknow.com/Buckwheat_Honey
  27. ^ Gilles Arbour (December 2004). "Are Buckwheat Greens Toxic?" (PDF). Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients. http://www.gillesarbour.com/buckwheat_assets/Buckwheat%20Greens.pdf. Retrieved 2004-06-15.  
  28. ^ Balch, Phyllis A. (2002). Prescription for herbal healing. Avery Publishing. p. 341. ISBN 0-89529-869-4. http://books.google.com/books?id=pSPJUaAT3TsC&pg=PA341&dq=buckwheat+Japanese#v=onepage&q=buckwheat%20Japanese&f=false.  
  29. ^ Ihme, N.; H. Kiesewetter, F. Jung, K. H. Hoffmann, A. Birk, A. Müller, K. I. Grützner (1996-07-12). "Leg oedema protection from a buckwheat herb tea in patients with chronic venous insufficiency: a single-centre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial". Eur J Clin Pharmacol 50 (6): 443–447. doi:10.1007/s002280050138. PMID 8858269.  
  30. ^ Kawa, J.M., Taylor, C.G., Przybylski, R. (1996). "Buckwheat Concentrate Reduces Serum Glucose in Streptozotocin-Diabetic Rats". J. Agric. Food Chem 50: 443–447.  
  31. ^ Nestler JE, Jakubowicz DJ, Reamer P, Gunn RD, Allan G (1999). "Ovulatory and metabolic effects of D-chiro-inositol in the polycystic ovary syndrome". N. Engl. J. Med. 340 (17): 1314–20. doi:10.1056/NEJM199904293401703. PMID 10219066.  
  32. ^ Iuorno MJ, Jakubowicz DJ, Baillargeon JP, et al. (2002). "Effects of d-chiro-inositol in lean women with the polycystic ovary syndrome". Endocrine practice 8 (6): 417–23. PMID 15251831.  
  33. ^ H. Tomotake, I. Shimaoka, J. Kayashita, F. Yokoyama, M. Nakajoh and N. Kato. (2001). "Stronger suppression of plasma cholesterol and enhancement of the fecal excretion of steroids by a buckwheat protein product than by a soy protein isolate in rats fed on a cholesterol-free diet.". Bioscience Biotechnology and Biochemistry 65: 1412–1414. doi:10.1271/bbb.65.1412.  
  34. ^ Chein Soo Hong, Hae Sim Park and Seung Heon Oh (December 1987). "Dermatophagoides Farinae, an Important Allergenic Substance in Buckwheat-Husk Pillows" (PDF). Yonsei Medical Journal 28 (4): 274–281. http://www.eymj.org/1987/pdf/274.pdf.  
  35. ^ Hae-Seon Nam, Choon-Sik Park, Julian Crane, Rob Siebers (2004). "Endotoxin and House Dust Mite Allergen Levels on Synthetic and Buckwheat Pillows" (PDF). Journal of Korean Medical Science 19 (4): 505–8. ISSN 1011-8934. PMID 15308838. http://jkms.kams.or.kr/2004/pdf/08505.pdf.  
  36. ^ Carolyn Smagalski (2006). "Gluten Free Beer Festival". http://www.glutenfreebeerfestival.com.  
  37. ^ http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118927753/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to The Buckwheat article)

From Wikisource

The Buckwheat
by Hans Christian Andersen
Translated by H. P. Paull (1872).

VERY often, after a violent thunder-storm, a field of buckwheat appears blackened and singed, as if a flame of fire had passed over it. The country people say that this appearance is caused by lightning; but I will tell you what the sparrow says, and the sparrow heard it from an old willow-tree which grew near a field of buckwheat, and is there still. It is a large venerable tree, though a little crippled by age. The trunk has been split, and out of the crevice grass and brambles grow. The tree bends for-ward slightly, and the branches hang quite down to the ground just like green hair. Corn grows in the surrounding fields, not only rye and barley, but oats,-pretty oats that, when ripe, look like a number of little golden canary-birds sitting on a bough. The corn has a smiling look and the heaviest and richest ears bend their heads low as if in pious humility. Once there was also a field of buckwheat, and this field was exactly opposite to old willow-tree. The buckwheat did not bend like the other grain, but erected its head proudly and stiffly on the stem. "I am as valuable as any other corn," said he, "and I am much handsomer; my flowers are as beautiful as the bloom of the apple blossom, and it is a pleasure to look at us. Do you know of anything prettier than we are, you old willow-tree?"

And the willow-tree nodded his head, as if he would say, "Indeed I do."

But the buckwheat spread itself out with pride, and said, "Stupid tree; he is so old that grass grows out of his body."

There arose a very terrible storm. All the field-flowers folded their leaves together, or bowed their little heads, while the storm passed over them, but the buckwheat stood erect in its pride. "Bend your head as we do," said the flowers.

"I have no occasion to do so," replied the buckwheat.

"Bend your head as we do," cried the ears of corn; "the angel of the storm is coming; his wings spread from the sky above to the earth beneath. He will strike you down before you can cry for mercy."

"But I will not bend my head," said the buckwheat.

"Close your flowers and bend your leaves," said the old willow-tree. "Do not look at the lightning when the cloud bursts; even men cannot do that. In a flash of lightning heaven opens, and we can look in; but the sight will strike even human beings blind. What then must happen to us, who only grow out of the earth, and are so inferior to them, if we venture to do so?"

"Inferior, indeed!" said the buckwheat. "Now I intend to have a peep into heaven." Proudly and boldly he looked up, while the lightning flashed across the sky as if the whole world were in flames.

When the dreadful storm had passed, the flowers and the corn raised their drooping heads in the pure still air, refreshed by the rain, but the buckwheat lay like a weed in the field, burnt to blackness by the lightning. The branches of the old willow-tree rustled in the wind, and large water-drops fell from his green leaves as if the old willow were weeping. Then the sparrows asked why he was weeping, when all around him seemed so cheerful. "See," they said, "how the sun shines, and the clouds float in the blue sky. Do you not smell the sweet perfume from flower and bush? Wherefore do you weep, old willow-tree?" Then the willow told them of the haughty pride of the buckwheat, and of the punishment which followed in consequence.

This is the story told me by the sparrows one evening when I begged them to relate some tale to me.

THE END
PD-icon.svg This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

1911 encyclopedia

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Simple English

Common Buckwheat
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Fagopyrum
Species: F. esculentum
Binomial name
Fagopyrum esculentum
Moench

Common Buckwheat (or buckwheat) is a plant. It is often seen as a cereal. Buckwheat is not a true grass. It is not related to wheat, because wheat is a true grass. Buckwheat seeds look like small beech tree seeds. Both seeds have three sides. Beech is also called buck. This is how buckwheat got its name - buckwheat is a plant that is used like wheat and whose seeds look like "buck", or beech seeds.

mrj:Шимшӓдӓнгӹ

pcd:Bucalhe








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