Triticum aestivum L.

bread wheat

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Bread wheat is thought to have been domesticated in Turkey around 10,000 years ago. The chief differences between cultivated wheat and its wild ancestors are the larger seeds and the non-shattering rachis which permits harvesting with minimal losses. Today there are many thousands of cultivars. Bread wheat escapes cultivation and colonizes colonizes fields, roadsides and cultivated areas widely across North American and in New England.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf blade width
6–20 mm
Inflorescence branches
there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
Spikelet length
10–15 mm
Glume relative length
neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
Awn on glume
the glume has an awn
One or more florets
there is more than one floret per spikelet
Lemma awn length
0–150 mm
Leaf sheath hair type
  • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, but the hairs do not have blisters at their bases
  • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Anther number
    3
    Awn on glume
    the glume has an awn
    Bristles below spikelets
    no
    Floret lower bract texture
    the lemma is hard and firm
    Floret number
    3–9
    Floret types within spikelet
    all the florets within a spikelet are similar
    Glume awn length
    0–40 mm
    Glume keel
    • the glume keels are rough or hairy
    • the glume keels are smooth and hairless
    Glume relative length
    neither glume is quite as long as all of the florets
    Glume veins
    • 3
    • 5
    • 7 or more
    Glumes per spikelet
    2
    Inflorescence axis hairs
    • the inflorescence axis is hairy but not rough or sand-papery feeling
    • the inflorescence axis is rough and feels like sand-paper
    Inflorescence axis orientation
    • the inflorescence axis bends downwards or hangs
    • the inflorescence axis is arched or curved outward
    • the inflorescence axis is straight
    Inflorescence branch length
    0 cm
    Inflorescence branch roughness
    NA
    Inflorescence branches
    there are no branch points between the base of the inflorescence axis and the flowers, or they are not obvious
    Inflorescence branches coming off the lowest stem node
    0
    Inflorescence crowding
    NA
    Inflorescence length
    35–180 mm
    Inflorescence type (general)
    the inflorescence is a spike, or is spike-like, lacking obvious branches
    Inflorescence type (specific)
    the inflorescence is a spike (a long unbranched stem with flowers along it that lack stalks)
    Inforescence position
    the spikelets are mainly carried at the end of the stem
    Lemma awn base
    the awn is attached right at the tip of the lemma
    Lemma awn coiled
    the lemma awn is straight or twisted, but not coiled one half turn
    Lemma awn length
    0–150 mm
    Lemma awn number
    • the lemma has no awn
    • the lemma has one awn on it
    Lemma awn orientation
    • the awn of the lemma is straight
    • the awn of the lemma on dried or older plants is curved or bent outwards
    Lemma cross-section
    • the lemma is V-shaped if you cut across the midpoint
    • the lemma is flat or rounded if you cut across the midpoint
    Lemma keel hairs
    the keel of the lemma is rough, or has fine hairs
    Lemma surface
    the surface of the lemma is relatively smooth (not counting any longitudinal veins or hairs)
    Lemma tip
    the lemma tip is a simple point, with or without an awn (long narrow extension ending in a point)
    Lemma tip shape
    the lemma tip tapers to a narrow point (it may or may not also have an awn or teeth at the tip)
    Lemma vein number
    • 5
    • 7 or more
    Lemma vein orientation
    the veins on the lemma stay roughly parallel throughout
    Lower glume length
    6–12 mm
    Lower glume relative length
    the lower glume is nearly as long, or as long as, the upper glume
    One or more florets
    there is more than one floret per spikelet
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers on the plant have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Spikelet axis tip
    there is no extension of the spikelet axis beyond the tip of the spikelet
    Spikelet disintegration
    • NA
    • the spikelet breaks off above the glumes, so that after the florets fall off, the glumes remain
    Spikelet length
    10–15 mm
    Spikelet number per node
    Up to 1
    Spikelet pedicel
    the spikelets do not have pedicels
    Spikelet pedicel length
    0 mm
    Spikelet position
    NA
    Spikelet shape
    the spikelets are ovate (egg-shaped, widest below the middle with rounded ends) in profile
    Spikelets per panicle branch
    0
    Spikelets spiny
    the spikelets do not appear spiny
    Tip of glume
    • the tip of the glume is divided into two or more points
    • the tip of the glume is not divided (though it may have an awn on it)
    Upper glume length
    6–12 mm
    Upper glume shape
    the upper glume is widest at or below the middle
  • Fruits or seeds
    Groove on seed
    the caryopsis has a groove running most of its length
    Seed length
    5–7 mm
  • Growth form
    Horizontal rooting stem
    no
    Lifespan
    the plant lives only a single year or less
    Rhizomes
    no
    Roots
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Leaf auricles
    the leaves have auricles
    Leaf basal lobe hairy
    • the lobes at the base of the leaf blades are hairless
    • the lobes at the base of the leaf blades have tiny fine hairs on them
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf blade is rounded in to a narrower base, or the blade cuts in abruptly to the narrower base
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section, or slightly folded or rolled inwards
    Leaf blade hairs
    • the leaf blade is hairless, but it may have tiny prickles that give it a sand-papery feel
    • the leaf blade is hairy
    Leaf blade length
    10–60 cm
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is rough and sandpapery
    Leaf blade width
    6–20 mm
    Leaf ligule type
    the leaf ligule is in the form of a membrane
    Leaf margin glands
    there are no glands along the edges of the leaf blade
    Leaf sheath closed around stem
    the margins of the leaf sheath are overlapping and not fused together except in the basal half (or less)
    Leaf sheath hair type
    • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath, but the hairs do not have blisters at their bases
    • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    Leaf sheath hairs
    • there are hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    • there are no hairs on the surface of the leaf sheath
    Orientation of topmost leaf
    the flag leaf is held upright, or at less than a 45 degree angle out from the stem
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Hairs at nodes
    the stem nodes are hairless or they have very sparse hairs
    Plant height
    14–150 cm
    Stem node number
    6–7
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright
    Stem spacing
    the stems grow close together in compact clusters or tufts

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Hordeum vulgare
Triticum turgidum

Family

Poaceae

Genus

Triticum

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Triticum aestivum L. E

bread wheat. Triticum vulgare Vill. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Fields, roadsides, waste places, areas of cultivation.