Botanical Name: Fagopyrum dibotrys
Synonyms: F. cymosum. (Trev.)Meissn. Polygonum chinense. P. dibotrys.
Common name: Perennial Buckwheat • Hindi: Ban ogal, Kanjolya • Khasi: Jarain • Nepali: Ban Phappar • Mizo: Anbawng
Habitat: Fagopyrum dibotrys is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Himalayas. It grows in forests and cultivated areas from Pakistan to S.W. China, 1500 – 3400 metres. Found alongside ditches on shady damp and fertile soils in China.
Fagopyrum dibotrys is a tall perennial sparsely velvety, branched herb, growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 2 m (6ft) at a fast rate. . Leaves are carried on 1.5-7 cm long stalks – upper stalks are short and the lower ones long. Leaves are broadly triangular, arrow-shaped or heart-shaped, long-pointed, 7-10 x 2.5-7 cm. Ochreae are 0.8-1.2 cm long, brown, tubular, truncate, membranous. Flowers are borne one-sided on the long recurved branches of the inflorescence. Flowers are stalked, white. The stalk carrying the cluster, is 6-16 cm long. Tepals are 5, 2-3 mm long. Stamens are 8, alternating with glands. Ovary is 3-angled, styles 3. Nuts are 3-angled, angles acute, ovate, 6-8 mm long, about 5 mm broad with flat or concave surfaces. Perennial Buckwheat is found in the Himalayas, in Bhutan, Kashmir, Myanmar, Nepal, Sikkim and Vietnam, at altitudes of 1500-3400 m. Flowering: May-September. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Bees, flies.
A very tolerant and easily grown plant, it prefers dry sandy soils but succeeds in most conditions including poor, heavy or acid soils and even sub-soils. Prefers a good soil in partial shade, growing very well in woodland conditions The dormant plant is hardy to about -20°c, though the growing plant is frost tender. It is often excited into growth quite early in the year if the weather is mild, and will then be cut back by the first frost. It usually regrows quickly from the base. Perennial buckwheat is occasionally cultivated for its edible seed, though this is not produced as abundantly as in the annual members of this genus. Our plants flower in late summer and early autumn, and have not as yet produced any seed. Since all our plants come originally from one seedling, it is quite possible that the plant is self-sterile. There is at least one named variety, selected for its ornamental value. ‘Variegata’ has variegated leaves. In garden design, as well as the above-ground architecture of a plant, root structure considerations help in choosing plants that work together for their optimal soil requirements including nutrients and water. The root pattern is fleshy. Thick or swollen – fibrous or tap root.
Leaves – raw or cooked. Boiled or steamed and used like spinach. Of excellent quality according to one report, but we have been less than impressed by the flavour, which has a distinct bitterness especially when eaten raw. The leaves are rich in rutin (see below for details of its uses) and so they do make a healthy addition to the diet. Seed – it can be sprouted and eaten raw, or cooked and used as a cereal. Dried and ground into a powder, it can serve as a thickening agent in soups etc. The seed is rich in vitamin B6. Unfortunately, it is not freely produced in Britain.
The whole plant is anodyne, anthelmintic, antiphlogistic, carminative, depurative and febrifuge. It stimulates blood circulation. A decoction is used in the treatment of traumatic injuries, lumbago, menstrual irregularities, purulent infections, snake and insect bites. A decoction of the roots is used in the treatment of insect bites, dysmenorrhoea, inflammation, lumbago, snakebite and traumatic injuries. The leaves are rich in rutin which is a capillary tonic, antioedemic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and hypotensive. Rutin also inhibits carcinogenesis and protects against radiation.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider