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Tartary Buckwheat Germplasm Evaluation

Evaluating roughly 80 accessions of Tartary Buckwheat (Fagopyrum tataricum), a valuable pseudo-cereal and medicinal plant, for signs of perenniality, useful interspecies hybrids, higher yielding accessions, seeds that ripen all at once, and high content of rutin and other antioxidants or compounds.

Tartary buckwheat (Fagopyrum tataricum) is a close relative of common buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), with many of the same uses and also some additional beneficial traits. Tartary buckwheat is generally much more difficult to de-hull, so the entire seed is typically ground into flour, which can impart a bitter flavor (the plant is sometimes called "bitter buckwheat" or "green buckwheat"). The original ployes of Quebec were made from Tartary buckwheat flour, and Quebec continues to have the most well developed Tartary buckwheat industry in North America, with seeds and flour available to purchase in health food stores. In parts of east Asia, especially China, Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal, the plant is still commonly grown both as a grain and for a medicinal tea (made from the entire plant).

It is the most potent natural source of rutin, a powerful antioxidant, but it is seldom used commercially as a rutin source (though many companies now sell rutin as a supplement). 

Like common buckwheat, Tartary buckwheat also has potential value as a honey plant and a cover crop.

There are also rumors of perennial strains of Tartary buckwheat, and the possibility exists of interspecific hybridization between Tartary buckwheat and wild perennial relatives (like Fagopyrum dibotrys), or between Tartary and common buckwheat. 

Our aim is to evaluate the 76 accessions we received from the USDA, along with a few we've gathered on our own, for agronomic qualities, first and foremost perenniality (but also yield, even seed ripening, seed quality, biomass production, etc). Once we've increased seed stocks on each accession, we also plan to have each accession tested for rutin content.

Volunteers will likely be asked to grow only one accession of Tartary buckwheat this year. In future years, the most interesting accessions will be studied further.

Researcher background
Nate Kleinman is a co-founder of EFN.
Are you seeking volunteer growers or other types of volunteers?
Yes, seeking volunteer growers
How many volunteers do you need?
What will you ask volunteers to do?
Grow out a single accession of Tartary buckwheat, save ripe seeds, and leave planting site undisturbed through the following Spring (to screen for perenniality). Send seeds back to researcher.
Other requirements of volunteers?
Volunteers should live in Zone 8 or colder. Preference will be given to volunteers in colder climates.
Is this a multi-year project?
Can volunteers expect to be able to keep some germplasm (seeds, bulbs, cuttings, spores, etc) at the close of the project?
Yes, of course
Researcher Location

United States

Project Updates


project update by
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - 04:51

Hello all, new to the network 😊 Very exciting concept! Is this project still active? Would love to participate, I have grown annual buckwheat with reasonable success and I love the idea of a perennial buckwheat patch! I'm in zone 4a, latitude 60 (Alaska), snow is melting quick so it would be great get my hands on some seeds. Thanks!

Update from Montana

project update by
Friday, September 11, 2020 - 11:39

I planted the accession entrusted to me this spring not last. Five plants germinated and grew and bloomed but are now four due to pocket gopher activity. I've collected a small amount of seed twice and will send most of it back. Plan to leave the site undisturbed to see if they resprout though I suspect they are more likely to distribute some of their own seeds and volunteer.