Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum common buckwheat, and Fagopyrum tataricum Tatar buckwheat) are plants in the genusFagopyrum (sometimes classified as Polygonum) in the family Polygonaceae. They are often counted as grains, though unlike most grains they are not true grasseses.
Common buckwheat was probably first cultivated in China. Besides the seeds, from which buckwheat flour is produced, buckwheat is also a good honey plant. The flour is made into noodles (including soba) and into buckwheat groats, often known as "kasha". Buckwheat contains rutin, a medicinal chemical.
Buckwheat pancakes, raised with yeast, were a common food in American pioneer days. They are light and foamy. The buckwheat flour gives them an agreeably earthy, mildly mushroom-like taste.
The name 'buckwheat' comes from its triangular seeds, which resemble the much larger seeds of beech.