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Common Wheat
Poaceae
Triticum aestivum


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb


Poaceae Family

Triticum Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Common Wheat


Location

Native to Western Asia

Physical Description
This subspecies has a long, slender spike which is somewhat flattened. Spikelets are 2 to 5 flowered, relatively far apart on the stem and nearly erect. Awns are either lacking or less than half an inch long. Stem centers are generally hollow but may be pithy. Leaves are narrower than in some other wheat. Kernels may be red or white, hard or soft. This is the source of most of the wheat varieties cultivated in the United States. Over 200 such varieties have been described, with near 100 now cultivated. They may be either spring or winter type and comprise nearly 95 percent of the wheat grown in this country. Principal use is for flour.
Annual grass; culms simple, erect, hollow or pithy, glabrous, up to 1.2 m tall; leaves flat, narrow, 2038 cm long, about 1.3 cm broad; spikes long, slender, dorsally compressed, somewhat flattened; rachis tough, not separating from spikelet at maturity; spikelets 25-flowered, relatively far apart on stem, slightly overlapping, nearly erect, pressed close to rachis; glumes keeled in upper half, firm, glabrous, shorter than the lemmas; lemmas awned or awnless, less than 1.3 cm long; palea as long as the lemma, remaining entire at maturity; caryopsis free-threshing, soft or hard, red or white. Hexaploid.




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Poaceae
Poales
Poales
Commelinidae
Monocots
Monocots
One First-Leaves (Monocots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

Wheat has been a food crop for mankind since the beginning of agriculture. Carbonized grains dating to at least as early as 6750 B.C. have been found in Iraq, and many other findings in Eastern Mediterranean countries are nearly as old. The Middle East is probably the area of origin, and wheat apparently spread throughout Europe not later than the Stone Age.

The cultivation of wheat began to spread beyond the Fertile Crescent during the Neolithic period, reaching the Aegean by 8500 cal BC and the Indian subcontinent by 6000 cal BC. By 5,000 years ago, wheat had reached Ethiopia, Great Britain, Ireland and Spain. A millennium later it reached China. Claims have been made for independent domestication of wheat outside the fertile crescent, but these lack evidence of the presence of wild wheats or of early domesticated wheat.

Three thousand years ago agricultural cultivation with horse-drawn plows increased cereal grain production, as did the use of seed drills to replace broadcast sowing in the 18th century. Yields of wheat continued to increase, as new land came under cultivation and with improved agricultural husbandry involving the use of fertilizers, threshing machines and reaping machines, tractor-drawn cultivators and planters, and varieties adapted to intensive cultivation.

Medicinal Uses: According to Hartwell (19671971), the seeds are used in folk remedies for cancers, corns, tumors, warts, and whitlow. Reported to be antivinous, bilious, demulcent, discutient, diuretic, emollient, excipient, intoxicant, laxative, useful as a poultice, restorative, sedative, used as a shampoo and vulnerary, common wheat is a folk remedy for burns, cancer, diarrhea, dysentery, ecchymosis, epistaxis, fertility, fever, flux, gravel, hematuria, hemoptysis, hemorrhage, incontinence, leprosy, leucorrhea, menorrhagia, neurasthenia, nightsweat, perspiration, scald, tumor, warts, whitlow, and wounds (Duke and Wain, 1981).

Food Uses: For food, most of the wheat is made into flour, the base of most baked foods as breads, cakes, etc. Macaroni is made from durum wheat. Most of the flour used in this country is white. In making white flour the bran and germ are removed mechanically and the resulting product consists essentially of the ground endosperm. Whole-wheat flour is also an important food. Some of the bran and germ separated out in milling also are used as food.

Raw wheat can be powdered into flour; germinated and dried creating malt; crushed or cut into cracked wheat; parboiled (or steamed), dried, crushed and de-branned into bulgur; or processed into semolina, pasta, or roux. Wheat is a major ingredient in such foods as bread, porridge, crackers, biscuits, Muesli, pancakes, pies, pastries, cakes & cupcakes, cookies, muffins, rolls, doughnuts, gravy, boza (a fermented beverage), and breakfast cereals (e.g. Wheatena, Cream of Wheat, Shredded Wheat, and Wheaties).

Cultivation: Use minimum number of tillage operations to help prevent soil compaction and restriction of root and water penetration. The two principal purposes for preparing a seedbed are the development of nitrates and the conservation of moisture. In areas where rainfall is limited, as in western Kansas, summer fallowing is the most successful method for storing and conserving soil moisture. Good summer fallow is one in which the soil is kept free of plant growth and the soil surface is kept open to permit rapid penetration of moisture, and cloddy to prevent wind and water erosion. Avoid excessive turning up of new soil because such tillage dries out the soil. Start first tillage in spring as soon as weeds begin to grow, usually about May 1. After the first tillage, cultivate soil only enough to prevent weed growth and to maintain a rough surface. In some areas stubble mulch tillage method of fallowing is practiced, by which enough residue is anchored to soil surface to protect the crop and soil from wind and water erosion. Contour and stripe planting may be used. Cultivation of soil well in advance of seeding hastens the decay of organic matter, thus liberating nitrogen and making it available to plants as nitrates. Early seedbed preparation is necessary for highest yields. Crop rotation of fallow, wheat, and sorghum is an excellent practice in some areas. Date of planting wheat seed depends on the locality, type of wheat, and the hessian fly problem. Rates of seeding differ with the type of wheat, size of seed, and locality, varying from 22100 kg ha, generally 33 kg ha is recommended. Local agents should be consulted about weed control. Irrigated wheat averages 86.25 bu ha instead of 65.5 bu ha. Wheat uses about 60 cm of water throughout the growing season. The type of fertilizer used should be determined by a soil test. The three main types being nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash. However, moisture, rather than plant food nutrients, is the limiting factor in production in most seasons under dryland farming. Yield response to nitrogen fertilizer is determined by moisture, soil, type of seedbed, and crop stand. Nitrogen may be supplied with anhydrous ammonia, nitrogen solution, or in dry forms as ammonium nitrate, urea or in mixed fertilizers. Phosphate is best supplied with superphosphate or in a mixed fertilizer. Potassium is best supplied with muriate of potash or in a mixed fertilizer. Nitrogen fertilizer and potash may be broadcast and worked into the seedbed before seeding or applied at time of seeding by using a combination fertilizer-grain drill, or applied as a top-dressing during the winter just prior to spring growth. Superphosphates are usually placed in the row with the seed (Reed, 1976).

Propagation: Propagation by seeds.





Common Wheat
Koehlers Medicinal-Plants 1887 [Image in Public Domain]

Comment: Common Wheat, Triticum aestivum

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