Napa County Master Gardeners: The incredible, edible California buckwheat | Home and Garden


A bee pollinating California buckwheat.

Recently, as our winters appear to have change into drier (and the rains definitely come later than they used to,) I’ve been exploring the subject of drought-tolerant edibles. This led me to studying about native edible crops. One itemizing I discovered contained greater than 1,300 native edible crops.

As I started to be taught extra, I noticed that California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) could be the right plant. CalScape, the official plant description web site of the California Native Plant Society, tells us there are established populations of California buckwheat close to Yountville and American Canyon. This implies that it naturally grows in Napa County, though we’re on the northern finish of its vary.

California buckwheat is one species amongst 125 buckwheat species native to our state. Native buckwheats are available in all shapes and sizes, from only a few inches tall and a foot or so throughout to as a lot as eight toes tall and 10 toes throughout.

So what makes California buckwheat the right plant? First of all, this can be very drought tolerant. Its most typical native habitat is in chaparral on dry, sunny slopes close to the coast. It shouldn’t want any summer time water as soon as establisher. However, it’s extra tolerant of summer time water than many different natives, so you’ll be able to develop it close to crops that do require some summer time water.

California buckwheat produces plenty of small flowers borne in clusters. It has a protracted bloom interval, sometimes from May by way of October. The flowers are white or pinkish-white once they first open and flip darker because the soil dries out. The literature describes the darker shade as “cinnamon,” “rust crimson” or “espresso.”

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