November 22, 2017

Tuberous Hardy Climbing Buckwheat (Fagopyrum giraldii)

This is a Chinese cousin of common buckwheat (Fagopurum esculentum) called also by other name - Pteroxygonum giraldii. Chinese name is: hong yao zi. This large (often more than 3 m = 10 ft tall, dense climber creates underground perennial tuberous rhizome to 15cm (= 6 inch) diameter. It is very frost hardy - it grows in central China at altitude 600-2000m (= 2000-6666 ft). In summer (July-September at my latitude 50°N) it creates small white flowers in long-stalk inflorescences and later in October mature small winged nutlets with 3 prickles at base, which fall down when they are ripe. The leaves are triangular-hastate with purple mark when young – they are very oramental. This plant very resembles a Caucasian spinach (Hablitzia tamnoides) in appearance, but this is not edible, but only medicinal. It blooms and fruits in first year from seeds, if sown early. The best sow the seeds surface in early to mid spring in pots inside and replant carefully (do not damage the roots) after last frosts. The seeds germinate easily and fast without any pre-treatment. I am not sure if it is frost hardy in my zone 6b, but it should be. I am going to check it this winter.

 The young leaves are purple marked

 The first young inflorescences in late July (in first year growing from seeds)

 The young fruits and flowers (it was in flowers to September)
 The flowers were pollinated mainly by wasps

 It can be quite large plant (to about 3-4 m = 10-13 ft tall)
Ripe fruits fall down
 The ripe, winged and horny, nutlets about 1 cm = 0,4 ich long (the coin on the photo is size about 2,5cm = 1 inch)
Young seedlings
It is very strange plant. The first shoot do not grow up from between cotyledons (as in case other dicotyledonous plants) but from the base near cotyledons

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