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Triticum aestivum

(Bread Wheat)


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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Albanian:


Common Names in Arabic:

قمح طري

Common Names in Azerbaijani:

Yumşaq buğda

Common Names in Bulgarian:

Зимна пшеница

Common Names in Catalan, Valencian:

Blat xeixa

Common Names in Chinese:


Common Names in Danish:

Brød Hvede

Common Names in Dutch:

Gewone tarwe

Common Names in English:

Bread Wheat, Canadian Hard Winter Wheat, Common Wheat, Common wheat or bread wheat, Hard Red Winter Wheat, soft wheat, Wheat

Common Names in Estonian:

Harilik nisu

Common Names in Finnish:


Common Names in French:

blé, blé commun, blé cultivé, blé ordinaire, blé tendre, froment, froment commun

Common Names in Georgian:

რბილი ხორბალი

Common Names in German:


Common Names in Hausa:


Common Names in Hungarian:

Közönséges búza

Common Names in Japanese:


Common Names in Kinyarwanda:


Common Names in Korean:


Common Names in Limburgish, Limburgan, Limburger:


Common Names in Lithuanian:

Paprastasis kvietys

Common Names in Persian (Farsi):


Common Names in Polish:

Pszenica zwyczajna

Common Names in Russian:

Пшеница мягкая

Common Names in Swedish:

Vårvete, Vete


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Family Poaceae

Annual or perennial herbs, or tall woody bamboos . Flowering stems (culms ) jointed , internodes hollow or solid; branches arising singly from nodes and subtended by a leaf sheath and 2-keeled prophyll, often fascicled in bamboos. Leaves arranged alternately in 2 ranks , differentiated into sheath, blade , and an adaxial erect appendage at sheath/blade junction (ligule) ; leaf sheath surrounding and supporting culm-internode, split to base or infrequently tubular with partially or completely fused margins , modified with reduced blade in bamboos (culm sheaths) ; leaf blades divergent, usually long, narrow and flat, but varying from inrolled and filiform to ovate , veins parallel, sometimes with cross-connecting veinlets (especially in bamboos) ; ligule membranous or a line of hairs . Inflorescence terminal or axillary , an open, contracted , or spikelike panicle, or composed of lax to spikelike racemes arranged along an elongate central axis, or digitate, paired , or occasionally solitary; axillary inflorescences often many, subtended by spatheoles (specialized bladeless leaf sheaths) and gathered into a leafy compound panicle; spikelets often aggregated into complex clusters in bamboos. Spikelets composed of distichous bracts arranged along a slender axis (rachilla) ; typically 2 lowest bracts (glumes ) empty, subtending 1 to many florets ; glumes often poorly differentiated from accompanying bracts in bamboos. Florets composed of 2 opposing bracts enclosing a single small flower, outer bract (lemma) clasping the more delicate, usually 2-keeled inner bract (palea) ; base of floret often with thickened prolongation articulated with rachilla (callus) ; lemma often with apical or dorsal bristle (awn ), glumes also sometimes awned . Flowers bisexual or unisexual ; lodicules (small scales representing perianth) 2, rarely 3 or absent, 3 to many in bamboos, hyaline or fleshy ; stamens 3 rarely 1, 2, 6, or more in some bamboos, hypogynous, filaments capillary , anthers versatile; ovary 1-celled, styles (1 or) 2(rarely 3), free or united at base, topped by feathery stigmas, exserted from sides or apex of floret. Fruit normally a dry indehiscent caryopsis with thin pericarp firmly adherent to seed, pericarp rarely free, fleshy in some bamboos; embryo small or large; hilum punctate to linear .

About 700 genera and 11,000 species: widely distributed in all regions of the world.[1]

Genus Triticum

Plants annual . Culms usually erect , rarely decumbent at base . Leaf sheath split almost to base; ligule membranous; auricles lanceolate; leaf blade usually flat. Spike linear , oblong , or ovate , distichous; rachis disarticulating or not. Spikelets 1 per node, sessile, with (2 or) 3-9(-11) florets ; apical floret usually sterile ; rachilla without joints . Glumes ovate, oblong, or elliptic , ± leathery, 3-11(-13) -veined with 1 or 2 veins raised as keels, glabrous or hairy , smooth or very scabrous along keels, apex obliquely truncate , 1- or 2-toothed, larger tooth sometimes extending into longish awn . Lemma 7-11(-15) -veined, ± keeled , apex awned or awnless; callus very short, obtuse . Palea usually slightly shorter than lemma. Lodicules ciliate at margin . Caryopsis ovate or oblong, ± plump, deeply furrowed , apex ± hairy. x = 7.

About 25 species: distributed as cultivated plants almost throughout temperate regions of both hemispheres, also on tropical mountains; four species (all introduced ) in China.

The generic name "Gigachilon" (Seidl in Berchtold et al. , Oekon.-Techn. Fl. Böhm. 1: 425. 1836) was merely cited in synonymy (of Triticum polonicum) and was therefore not validly published (Saint Louis Code, Art. 34.1(c) ). Under Art. 43.1, combinations in "Gigachilon" published by Löve (Feddes Repert. 95: 496498. 1984) were not validly published either.[2]

Physical Description

Species Triticum aestivum

Culms hollow, 60-130(-150) cm tall, ca. 5-noded; nodes glabrous . Leaf blade flat, 10-24 × 0.4-1.5 cm, usually glabrous. Spike lax or dense, usually narrowed distally, square or subsquare in cross section , 5-18 cm, with up to 29 spikelets ; rachis disarticulating or tough and not disarticulating, margin ciliate ; internodes 3-4 mm. Spikelets with 4-9 florets (distal florets sterile). Glumes laxly appressed or adnate to floret, ovate or elliptic , sometimes very hard, distinctly or indistinctly to obscurely keeled , pubescent or glabrous; keel sometimes prolonged at apex into shortish tooth ; tooth apex subobtuse, acute, or tapering into short awn . Lemma oblong-lanceolate, pubescent or glabrous, awnless to long awned ; awn usually divergent. Palea subequaling lemma. Anthers yellow or purplish. Caryopsis usually free from lemma and palea. Fl. and fr. Apr-Aug. [source]

Habit: Graminoid

Flowers: Bloom Period: April, May, June. • Flower Color: inconspicuous, none


Size: 36-48" tall.


Commonly cultivated, e.g. , in fields of Hordeum and Triticum; below 3500 m [3].

Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 5,478 meters (0 to 17,972 feet).[4]


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Duration: Annual


Soil: Minimum pH: 6.1 • Maximum pH: 6.5

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Full Sun .


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Triticum hybernum L. • Triticum macha Dekap. & Menab. • Triticum sativum Lam. • Triticum sativum Lam. var. aestivum (L.) Alph. Wood • Triticum sphaerococcum Percival • Triticum vulgare Vill. var. aestivum (L.) Spenn.

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Triticum

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 40 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

T. aegilops (Goatgrass) · T. aestivum (Bread Wheat) · T. aestivum aestivum (Canadian Hard Winter Wheat) · T. aestivum sphaerococcum (Spherical-Seeded Wheat) · T. aestivum turgidum (Poulard Wheat) · T. aestivum vulgare (Canadian Hard Winter Wheat) · T. aethiopicum (Ethiopian Wheat) · T. araraticum (Wheat) · T. boeoticum (Wild Einkorn) · T. caninum (Bearded Wheatgrass) · T. carthlicum (Persian Wheat) · T. compactum (Clubed Wheat) · T. dicoccon (Emmer) · T. dicoccum (Emmer Wheat) · T. durum (Durum Wheat) · T. fragile (Siberian Wheatgrass) · T. ispahanicum (Wheat) · T. karamyschevii (Karamyschev's Wheat) · T. longissimum (Goatgrass) · T. lorentii (Lorent's Goatgrass) · T. militinae (Wheat) · T. monococcum (Einkorn) · T. monococcum aegilopoides (Wild Einkorn Wheat (As T Baeoticum)) · T. monococcum monococcum (One-Grained Wheat) · T. pinnatum (Heath False Brome) · T. polonicum (Polish Wheat) · T. spelta (Spelt) · T. timopheevii (Timopheev's Wheat) · T. turanicum (Oriental Wheat) · T. turgidum (Rivet Wheat) · T. turgidum carthlicum (Persian Black Wheat) · T. turgidum dicoccoides (Wild Emmer Wheat) · T. turgidum dicoccon (Two-Grained Wheat) · T. turgidum polonicum (Ethiopian Wheat) · T. turgidum turanicum (Khorassan Wheat) · T. umbellulatum (Goatgrass) · T. unilaterale (Mat-Grass Fescue) · T. urartu (Wheat) · T. vavilovii (Vavilov's Wheat) · T. zhukovskyi (Zhukovsky's Wheat)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 15, 2007:



  1. Shou-liang Chen, De-Zhu Li, Guanghua Zhu, Zhenlan Wu, Sheng-lian Lu, Liang Liu, Zheng-ping Wang, Bi-xing Sun, Zheng-de Zhu, Nianhe Xia, Liang-zhi Jia, Zhenhua Guo, Wenli Chen, Xiang Chen, Yang Guangyao, Sylvia M. Phillips, Chris Stapleton, Robert J. Soreng, Susan G. Aiken, Nikolai N. Tzvelev, Paul M. Peterson, Stephen A. Renvoize, Marina V. Olonova & Klaus Ammann "Poaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 22. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  2. "Triticum". in Flora of China Vol. 22 Page 1, 386, 387, 441, 442, 444. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  3. "Triticum aestivum". in Flora of China Vol. 22 Page 442, 443. Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at [back]
  4. Mean = 670.610 meters (2,200.164 feet), Standard Deviation = 1,303.670 based on 3,468 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2015-01-30