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Bread Wheat

Triticum aestivum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Poaceae (Grass)
Also in this family:
Alpine Catstail, Alpine Foxtail, Alpine Meadow-grass, Annual Beard-grass, Annual Meadow-grass, Arrow Bamboo, Barren Brome Grass, Bearded Couch Grass, Bearded Fescue, Bermuda Grass, Black Bent, Black Grass, Blue Fescue, Blue Moor-grass, Bog Hair-grass, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass, Bristle Bent, Brown Bent, Brown Sedge, Bulbous Foxtail, Bulbous Meadow-grass, California Brome Grass, Canary Grass, Carnation Sedge, Cocksfoot, Cockspur, Common Bent, Common Cord-grass, Common Millet, Common Reed, Common Saltmarsh Grass, Compact Brome Grass, Corn, Couch Grass, Creeping Bent, Creeping Soft-grass, Crested Dog's-tail, Crested Hair-grass, Cultivated Oat, Curved Hard Grass, Cut Grass, Dense Silky Bent, Downy Oat-grass, Drooping Brome Grass, Drooping Tor Grass, Dune Fescue, Early Hair-grass, Early Meadow-grass, Early Sand-grass, False Brome Grass, False Oat-grass, Fern Grass, Fine-leaved Sheep's Fescue, Flattened Meadow-grass, Floating Sweet-grass, Foxtail Barley, French Oat, Giant Fescue, Glaucous Meadow-grass, Great Brome Grass, Greater Quaking Grass, Grey Hair-grass, Hairy Brome Grass, Hairy Finger-grass, Hard Fescue, Hard Grass, Harestail Grass, Heath Grass, Holy Grass, Hybrid Marram Grass, Italian Rye Grass, Knotroot Bristlegrass, Lesser Hairy Brome Grass, Lesser Quaking Grass, Loose Silky Bent, Lyme Grass, Marram Grass, Marsh Foxtail, Mat Grass, Mat-grass Fescue, Meadow Barley, Meadow Fescue, Meadow Foxtail, Meadow Oat-grass, Mountain Melick, Narrow-leaved Meadow-grass, Narrow-leaved Small-reed, Neglected Couch Grass, Nit Grass, Orange Foxtail, Pampas Grass, Perennial Rye Grass, Plicate Sweet-grass, Purple Moor-grass, Purple Small-reed, Purple-stem Catstail, Quaking Grass, Ratstail Fescue, Red Fescue, Reed Canary Grass, Reed Sweet-grass, Reflexed Saltmarsh Grass, Rescue Grass, Rough Meadow-grass, Rush-leaved Fescue, Sand Catstail, Sand Couch Grass, Scandinavian Small-reed, Scottish Small-reed, Sea Barley, Sea Couch Grass, Sea Fern Grass, Sheep's Fescue, Silver Hair-grass, Six-rowed Barley, Slender Brome Grass, Small Cord-grass, Small Sweet-grass, Smaller Catstail, Smooth Brome Grass, Smooth Cord-grass, Smooth Finger-grass, Smooth Meadow-grass, Soft Brome Grass, Somerset Hair-grass, Sorghum, Spreading Meadow-grass, Squirreltail Fescue, Stiff Brome Grass, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass, Sweet Vernal Grass, Tall Fescue, Timothy Grass, Tor Grass, Tufted Hair-grass, Two-rowed Barley, Upright Brome Grass, Velvet Bent, Viviparous Fescue, Wall Barley, Wavy Hair-grass, Wavy Meadow-grass, Whorl Grass, Wild Oat, Wood Barley, Wood Fescue, Wood Meadow-grass, Wood Melick, Wood Millet, Yellow Oat-grass, Yorkshire Fog
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Fields, wasteland.

Green, no petals
Bread wheat produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are arranged in spikelets along the central stem, forming a structure known as the wheat head or ear. Each spikelet contains several tiny individual flowers, called florets, which are encased by protective structures called glumes. The wheat florets have reproductive organs, including stamens (male parts) and pistils (female parts), essential for pollination and seed development. The flowers of bread wheat are not showy or brightly colored like many ornamental plants; instead, they serve a crucial function in the reproductive process of the wheat plant, ultimately leading to the formation of wheat grains within the spikelets. Wheat flowers are adapted for wind pollination, and their subtle appearance contrasts with the visual appeal of more traditionally decorative flowering plants.
The fruit of bread wheat is a dry, one-seeded fruit known as a caryopsis or grain. In common terms, it is what we refer to as wheat kernels. The fruit develops from the fertilized ovary of the wheat flower and is enclosed within the protective layers of the glumes and lemma. The wheat grain is typically oblong in shape and has a hard outer layer called the bran, a nutrient-rich inner layer known as the endosperm, and a small embryo or germ. It is this entire structure that forms the wheat kernel. The grains are harvested for various culinary purposes, including the production of flour used in breadmaking, pastries, and various other food products.
The leaves of bread wheat are long, narrow, and blade-like. They are arranged alternately along the stems of the plant. Each leaf has a prominent midrib running along its length, with parallel veins branching out from the midrib. Wheat leaves are typically green, and their colour is due to the presence of chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for photosynthesis. The leaves play a crucial role in the plant's ability to capture sunlight and convert it into energy for growth and development. As the wheat plant matures, the lower leaves may turn yellow and eventually senesce, a natural process where older leaves age and die off. This is part of the plant's resource allocation strategy to prioritize energy and nutrients towards developing the reproductive structures, including the wheat grains.
Bread wheat does not possess a distinct fragrance in its natural state. The plant's primary aromatic qualities are associated with the processed products derived from its grains, particularly when they are baked into bread or other culinary items. When wheat is milled into flour and used in baking, the aroma of freshly baked bread becomes prominent. The fragrance is a result of the complex chemical reactions occurring during the baking process, including the Maillard reaction, which imparts the characteristic scent of warm, crusty bread. This aroma is often described as comforting and enticing, making it a sensory delight for those enjoying freshly baked wheat-based products.
Other Names:
Common Wheat.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Triticum aestivum, also known as common wheat, is a species of cereal grain in the family Poaceae. It is one of the most widely cultivated and important cereal crops in the world, grown for its edible seeds which are ground into flour for making bread, pasta, pastry, and other products. Wheat is a grass that is annual or biennial. It has a stem that grows up to 2-3 ft tall and has leaves that grow in a spiral pattern on the stem. The wheat plant bears spikelets that are arranged in a spike-like inflorescence called a panicle. Wheat is a cereal that is grown in almost every country in the world. It is a staple food that feeds billions of people. It is also used as a food source for livestock, and it's straw is used for animal bedding and thatching.


Bread Wheat (Triticum aestivum) - The Most Widely Cultivated Wheat Species

Bread wheat, also known as Triticum aestivum, is the most widely cultivated species of wheat in the world. It is a staple food for over half of the global population and is a significant source of nutrition, providing carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The history of bread wheat dates back to the agricultural revolution that began 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East. Since then, it has spread throughout the world and has become an essential crop in many countries. Today, bread wheat is grown on over 220 million hectares of land worldwide and is one of the most important food crops in the world.

Bread wheat is a hexaploid species, which means it has six sets of chromosomes. This gives it a greater genetic diversity compared to other wheat species and allows it to adapt to a wide range of growing conditions. This adaptability, along with its high yield potential, makes bread wheat a valuable crop for farmers.

One of the unique features of bread wheat is its ability to produce high-quality flour that is ideal for making bread. The flour contains gluten, a protein that provides elasticity and structure to the dough, allowing it to rise and maintain its shape during baking. This is why bread wheat is the preferred choice for making bread, pasta, and other baked goods.

In terms of agronomy, bread wheat is a hardy crop that can withstand harsh growing conditions. It is a winter crop that can be grown in temperate regions and can tolerate moderate frost. It also has a relatively long growing season, typically lasting from four to five months, which allows it to mature and produce high yields.

Despite its importance, bread wheat is not immune to challenges. One of the main challenges facing farmers is the threat of pests and diseases. Rust, a fungal disease, is one of the most significant threats to bread wheat. To combat this, farmers use resistant wheat varieties and implement crop management practices to reduce the spread of the disease.

Bread wheat is a crucial crop that provides food and nutrition to millions of people around the world. Its adaptability and high yield potential make it an important staple food for many countries, and its ability to produce high-quality flour makes it ideal for making bread and other baked goods. Despite the challenges facing farmers, bread wheat will continue to play an important role in global food security in the years to come.

In recent years, the demand for high-quality wheat flour has increased, leading to advances in breeding and production techniques. Today, there are many different types of bread wheat, each with its own unique characteristics, such as improved yield, disease resistance, and flour quality.

To meet the growing demand for wheat flour, many countries have implemented modern agricultural practices, such as using high-yielding, disease-resistant varieties, applying fertilizers and pesticides, and irrigating crops to improve yields. Additionally, there have been efforts to improve the efficiency of the wheat supply chain, from seed production to flour milling, to reduce waste and improve quality.

However, there are also concerns about the environmental impact of modern agriculture, including soil degradation, water pollution, and the use of pesticides and fertilizers. To address these concerns, there is a growing movement towards more sustainable agriculture practices, such as conservation agriculture, organic farming, and agroforestry. These practices aim to conserve resources, protect the environment, and produce healthy food while ensuring economic viability for farmers.

In recent years, there has also been an increased focus on using biotechnology to improve wheat production. For example, genetic engineering techniques are being used to develop drought-resistant and rust-resistant varieties, which can improve yields and reduce the need for pesticides and fertilizers. However, these techniques are controversial and there are concerns about their impact on the environment and food safety.

Bread wheat is a staple food for billions of people around the world and is essential for global food security. Advances in breeding and production techniques, along with a focus on sustainable agriculture practices, will help to ensure that bread wheat continues to play a vital role in meeting the growing demand for food. However, it is important to balance the need for increased production with the need to protect the environment and ensure food safety for future generations.

In addition to its nutritional and economic importance, bread wheat also has cultural significance. Bread has been a staple food for thousands of years and has played a central role in many societies and cultures. In many countries, bread is considered a symbol of life and is used in religious and cultural ceremonies.

Bread baking is also an art form, with bakers using their skills and knowledge to create a wide range of breads with different textures, flavors, and shapes. From sourdough bread to baguettes, bread baking is a time-honored tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.

However, the increasing prevalence of celiac disease and gluten intolerance has led to a growing demand for gluten-free products. This has led to the development of alternative grain-based products, such as rice flour and corn flour, that are suitable for people with gluten intolerance. Despite this trend, bread wheat will continue to be an important food source for many people around the world, and its cultural and historical significance will ensure its place in society for many years to come.

In conclusion, bread wheat is a staple food that is essential for global food security and has cultural, economic, and nutritional significance. As the demand for food continues to grow, it is important to ensure that bread wheat is produced in a sustainable and responsible manner, so that future generations can continue to enjoy its many benefits.

30 Facts Relating to Bread Wheat

  1. Scientific Name: Bread wheat belongs to the Triticum aestivum species.

  2. Origin: It originated in Southwest Asia and has been cultivated for thousands of years.

  3. Major Staple Crop: Bread wheat is a primary staple crop and a key source of calories for a large portion of the world's population.

  4. Grain Composition: The wheat grain consists of three parts – the bran, germ, and endosperm.

  5. Gluten Content: Wheat is known for its gluten content, a protein that gives dough its elasticity and helps in the rising process.

  6. Varieties: There are different varieties of bread wheat, including hard and soft varieties, each with its unique properties.

  7. Nutritional Profile: Wheat is a good source of essential nutrients like carbohydrates, fiber, proteins, and various vitamins and minerals.

  8. Cultivation Conditions: It thrives in temperate climates with well-distributed rainfall and fertile soils.

  9. Versatility: Bread wheat is versatile and used in various culinary applications, including bread, pasta, pastries, and more.

  10. Hybrid Varieties: Modern agriculture has produced hybrid wheat varieties with improved yield and resistance to diseases.

  11. Global Production: Wheat is one of the most widely cultivated crops globally, with major producers including China, India, Russia, and the United States.

  12. Harvesting Seasons: Wheat is typically harvested in the summer, although the exact timing varies depending on the region and variety.

  13. Crop Rotation: Farmers often use wheat as part of a crop rotation strategy to maintain soil health.

  14. Disease Susceptibility: Wheat is susceptible to various diseases, including rusts and smuts, which can impact yield.

  15. Breeding Programs: Ongoing breeding programs aim to develop wheat varieties with enhanced nutritional content and climate resilience.

  16. Ancient History: Wheat cultivation dates back to ancient civilizations, playing a crucial role in the development of agriculture.

  17. Global Trade: Wheat is a major commodity in international trade, with significant exports and imports between countries.

  18. Processing Methods: Wheat undergoes various processing methods to produce flour, semolina, and other derivatives for culinary use.

  19. Drought Resistance: Some wheat varieties have been developed to withstand drought conditions, contributing to agricultural sustainability.

  20. Culinary Diversity: Different cultures have diverse recipes using wheat, leading to a wide range of bread and pastry types worldwide.

  21. Bread Wheat Genomics: Advances in genomics have facilitated the study and improvement of wheat varieties at the molecular level.

  22. Storage Characteristics: Proper storage is crucial to prevent pests and maintain the quality of harvested wheat grains.

  23. Bread Wheat's Role in Celiac Disease: Wheat contains gluten, making it unsuitable for individuals with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition.

  24. Flowering and Pollination: Wheat plants undergo flowering, and pollination is usually achieved by wind.

  25. Wheat as Animal Feed: Wheat by-products, such as bran, are also used as feed for livestock.

  26. Economic Importance: Wheat cultivation significantly contributes to the economies of many agricultural regions.

  27. Winter and Spring Wheat: Varieties are categorized into winter and spring wheat based on their planting seasons.

  28. Traditional vs. Industrial Farming: While traditional farming methods persist, industrial farming practices have brought about significant changes in wheat cultivation.

  29. Green Revolution Impact: The Green Revolution of the mid-20th century led to increased wheat yields through the use of improved varieties and modern farming techniques.

  30. Genetic Diversity Conservation: Efforts are underway to conserve the genetic diversity of wheat to ensure resilience against pests and changing environmental conditions.


Bread Wheat filmed at Hic Bibi Local Nature Reserve in Coppull, Lancashire on the 7th June 2023.


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