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Polygonaceae: Buckwheat Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Polygonaceae
Plants of the Buckwheat Family

      The Buckwheat family is as familiar as rhubarb or sorrel. If you grow either of these plants in your garden, then be sure to look at the flowers and seeds. The Buckwheats have simple, toothless leaves and often swollen joints, or nodes, on the stems, plus lots of small flowers in clusters or spikes. The Latin "Polygonum" literally means "many knees", and refers to the swollen nodes of the leaf stems. There are typically 5 or 6 sepals, sometimes colored like petals and often in two layers, but no true petals, and 3 to 9 stamens. The ovary is positioned superior and consists of 3 united carpels (syncarpous), forming a single chamber. It matures as a dry seed, usually brown or black and triangular or lens-shaped, sometimes with wings. Worldwide, there are about 40 genera and 800 species, including 15 genera in North America. Sour juice, from oxalic acid, is common in this family. Many plants of this family also contain tannic acid and anthraquinone glycosides.

Key Words: Small flowers with colored sepals, no petals and often triangular seeds.

Please e-mail Thomas J. Elpel to report mistakes or to inquire about purchasing high resolution photos of these plants.


Eriogonum flavum. Yellow Wild Buckwheat.

Eriogonum flavum. Yellow Wild Buckwheat.

Eriogonum flavum. Yellow Wild Buckwheat.

Eriogonum flavum. Yellow Wild Buckwheat.

Eriogonum sp. Wild Buckwheat.

Eriogonum sp. Wild Buckwheat.

Eriogonum sp. Wild Buckwheat.

Eriogonum sp. Wild Buckwheat.

Polygonum bistortoides. American Bistort.

Polygonum bistortoides. American Bistort.

Polygonum bistortoides. American Bistort.

Polygonum bistortoides. American Bistort.

Oxyria digyna. Mountain Sorrel.

Oxyria digyna. Mountain Sorrel. Tobacco Root Mountains. Pony, Montana.

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Botany in a Day
Polygonum amphibium. Water Smartweed.

Polygonum amphibium. Water Smartweed.

Polygonum amphibium. Water Smartweed.

Polygonum amphibium. Water Smartweed. Harrison Lake. Near Harrison, Montana.

Rheum rhaponticum. Rhubarb.

Rheum rhaponticum. Rhubarb. Rhubarb was often planted around old-time cabins. In many places the cabins are all gone, but the rhubarb is still growing. Tobacco Root Mountains. Pony, Montana.

Rumex hymenosepalus. Canaigre.

Rumex hymenosepalus. Canaigre. Arizona

Rumex acetosella. Sheep Sorrel.

Rumex acetosella. Sheep Sorrel.

Rumex acetosella. Sheep Sorrel.

Rumex acetosella. Sheep Sorrel.

Rumex crispus. Curly Dock.

Rumex crispus. Curly Dock.

Rumex crispus. Curly Dock.

Rumex crispus. Curly Dock. Tobacco Root Mountains. Pony, Montana.

Rumex venosus. Veiny Dock.

Rumex venosus. Veiny Dock.

Rumex venosus. Veiny Dock.

Rumex venosus. Veiny Dock.

There are more
Buckwheat Family pictures
at PlantSystematics.org.


Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Check out Botany in a Day

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Thomas J. Elpel
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, andthe Blossoming of Human Spirit
Roadmap
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Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Living
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Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
Participating
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Botany
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids
Shanleya's
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