Triticum aestivum

From PlantUse English
Jump to: navigation, search

Triticum aestivum L.

alt=Description of Wheat field.jpg picture.
field of wheat
Order Poales
Family Gramineae
Genus Triticum

2n = 42, genome AABBDD

Origin : south of Caspian sea

cultivated (only)

English {{{english}}}
French {{{french}}}


This species includes both hulled wheats (subsp. macha, spelta, vavilovii) and naked wheats (subsp. aestivum, compactum, sphaerococcum). The difference is due to only one gene, the q gene. It is the amphiploid of Triticum turgidum (genome AABB) and Aegilops tauschii (genome DD). This last wild species lives south of the Caspian Sea (Iran, Afghanistan, Kirghiztan). It is adapted to climates with a cold winter and a humid summer. So the D genome allowed wheat to be cultivated outside of the Mediterranean areas, and explains its worlwide expansion. |varieties = Descriptions and drawings of all the cultivars known in Western Europe in 1880 and 1909 are found in Les meilleurs blés.


Triticum aestivum L. (1753)

current synonyms:

  • Triticum hybernum L. (1753)
  • Triticum sativum Lam. (1779)
  • Triticum vulgare Vill. (1787)

Linneaus created two names, one for spring wheat, and another for winter wheat. This distinction is indeed important to farmers, but not relevant botanically. When merging both Linnean species into one, authors chosed a new name, following usage of that time. The ICBN rules now that the first name published has priority, and that in the case of two names having the same date, the choice of the first author merging both taxa should be followed. It was first thought that Triticum aestivum was the first name chosen, until Kerguélen found in an obscure flora that Triticum hybernum predated it. In order to promote stability for such an important crop, Triticum aestivum is now a nomen conservandum.

Later, Thellung merged Triticum spelta into T. aestivum. Authors wishing to stress that they used Triticum aestivum in a broader sense than Linnaeus used to add 'emend. Fiori et Paoletti (1896)' or 'emend. Thell. (1918)', but this usage is now obsolete.

Triticum aestivum L. subsp. aestivum

  • synonym:
    • T. aestivum subsp. vulgare (Vill.) MacKey (1954)
    • T. aestivum L. sensu stricto
  • English: wheat, bread wheat
  • French: blé tendre, froment

see more European names

Triticum aestivum L. subsp. compactum (Host) MacKey (1954)

club wheat
  • synonym: T. compactum Host (1809)
  • English: club wheat
  • French: blé compact, blé hérisson
  • German: Igelweizen, Zwergweizen, Binkelweizen
  • Spanish: trigo cabezorro

Triticum aestivum L. subsp. macha (Dekapr. et Menabde) MacKey (1954)

  • synonym: T. macha Dekapr. et Menabde (1932)
  • English: macha wheat
  • French: blé macha
  • German: Macha-Weizen
  • Spanish: trigo maka
  • Georgian: makha

Triticum aestivum L. subsp. spelta (L.) Thell. (1918)

Epeautre blanc, sans barbes (Vilmorin, 1880)

synonym: T. spelta L. (1753)

  • English: spelt
  • French: épeautre

see more European names

Triticum aestivum L. subsp. sphaerococcum (Perc.) MacKey (1954)

  • synonym : T. sphaerococcum Perc. (1921)
  • English: Indian dwarf wheat
  • French: blé indien
  • German: indischer Kugel-Weizen, indischer Zwerg-Weizen
  • Spanish: trigo indio

Triticum aestivum L. subsp. vavilovii (Tuman.) Sears (1959)

  • synonyms:
    • T. vavilovii (Tuman.) Jakubc. (1933)
    • T. vulgare var. vavilovii Tuman. ex Fljaksb. (1935)
  • English: Vavilov’s wheat
  • French: blé de Vavilov, blé arménien
  • German: Vavilov’s Weizen


The bread wheat now grows in all temperate areas and mountain tropical areas.

Agriculture reached the Caspian Sea only in 6000-5000 BC. (2 to 3 millenaries after its invention in the fertile Crescent). Triticum aestivum must then have appeared in fields of Triticum turgidum as a result of hybridization with the wild Aegilops tauschii. With the spread of agriculture into temperate areas, pure crops of Triticum aestivum would then be favored. Logically, subsp. spelta would be the first to appear, but it seems to have remained for a long time an impurity in fields of Triticum turgidum, and it spread only to central Europe. On the contrary, subsp. aestivum spread both west (to all Europe) and east (to central Asia and India).

see Candolle's articles for naked and hulled wheats.



  • Zohary Daniel, Hopf Maria & Weiss Ehud, 2012. Domestication of plants in the Old World. Fourth Edition. Oxford, Oxford University Press. XVI-243 p.