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Triticum aestivum

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to woody perennial herb; roots generally fibrous. Stem: generally round, hollow; nodes swollen, solid. Leaf: alternate, 2-ranked, generally linear, parallel-veined; sheath generally open; ligule membranous or hairy, at blade base. Inflorescence: various (of generally many spikelets). Spikelet: glumes generally 2; florets (lemma, palea, flower) 1--many; lemma generally membranous, sometimes glume-like; palea generally +- transparent, +- enclosed by lemma. Flower: generally bisexual, minute; perianth vestigial; stamens generally 3; stigmas generally 2, generally plumose. Fruit: grain, sometimes achene- or utricle-like.
Genera In Family: 650--900 genera; +- 10550 species: worldwide; greatest economic importance of any family (wheat, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, sugar cane, forage crops, ornamental, weeds; thatching, weaving, building materials). Note: Generally wind-pollinated. Achnatherum, Ampelodesmos, Hesperostipa, Nassella, Piptatherum, Piptochaetium, Ptilagrostis moved to Stipa; Elytrigia, Leymus, Pascopyrum, Pseudoroegneria, Taeniatherum to Elymus; Hierochloe to Anthoxanthum; Lolium, Vulpia to Festuca; Lycurus to Muhlenbergia; Monanthochloe to Distichlis; Pleuraphis to Hilaria; Rhynchelytrum to Melinis. The following taxa (in genera not included here), recorded in California from historical collections or reported in literature, are extirpated, lacking vouchers, or not considered naturalized: Acrachne racemosa (Roth) Ohwi, Allolepis texana (Vasey) Soderstr. & H.F. Decker, Amphibromus nervosus (Hook. f.) Baill., Axonopus affinis Chase, Axonopus fissifolius (Raddi) Kuhlm., Coix lacryma-jobi L., Cutandia memphitica (Spreng.) K. Richt., Dinebra retroflexa (Vahl) Panz., Eremochloa ciliaris (L.) Merr., Eustachys distichophylla (Lag.) Nees, Gaudinia fragilis (L.) P. Beauv., Miscanthus sinensis Andersson, Neyraudia arundinacea (L.) Henrard, Phyllostachys aurea Rivière & C. Rivière, Phyllostachys bambusoides Siebold & Zuccarini, Rottboellia cochinchinensis (Lour.) Clayton, Schedonnardus paniculatus (Nutt.) Branner & Coville, Schizachyrium cirratum (Hack.) Wooton & Standl., Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash, Themeda quadrivalvis (L.) Kuntze, Thysanolaena latifolia (Hornem.) Honda, Tribolium obliterum (Hemsl.) Renvoize, Zea mays L., Zizania palustris L. var. interior (Fassett) Dore, Zoysia japonica Steud. Paspalum pubiflorum E. Fourn., Paspalum quadrifarium Lam., are now reported for southern California (J Bot Res Inst Texas 4:761--770). See Glossary p. 30 for illustrations of general family characteristics.
eFlora Treatment Author: James P. Smith, Jr., except as noted
Scientific Editor: James P. Smith, Jr., J. Travis Columbus, Dieter H. Wilken.
Genus: TriticumView Description 

Habit: Annual. Stem: 3--16 dm, generally erect to abruptly bent at base, nodes glabrous or pubescent. Leaf: sheath appendaged; ligule membranous, truncate; blade flat, glabrous or pubescent. Inflorescence: spike-like, spikelets 2-ranked, sessile, 1 per node, lateral to inflorescence axis; axis remaining intact or breaking apart at maturity. Spikelet: 9--16 mm, laterally compressed, glumes 6--12 mm, +- equal, thick, stiff, keeled, 5--11-veined, loosely enclosing lower florets, mucronate, awned or awn 0; florets 3--9; lemmas like glumes, keeled or rounded, toothed, generally awned; palea 2-veined, 2-keeled.
Species In Genus: 10--20+ species: Mediterranean, western Asia. Etymology: (Latin: ancient common name for wheat)
eFlora Treatment Author: James P. Smith, Jr.
Reference: Morrison 2007 FNANM 24:268--277
Unabridged Reference: Morrison 2001 Linnean Special Issue 3:65--80
Triticum aestivum L.
Habit: Annual, cespitose. Stem: stout, 6--15 dm. Leaf: appendages claw-like; blade 10--60 cm, 10--15 (20) mm wide. Inflorescence: 6--18 cm, not breaking apart at maturity. Spikelet: 10--15 mm, generally appressed to ascending; glumes 6--12 mm, prominently keeled toward base, 5--9-veined, toothed or awned to 4 cm; lemmas similar, 10--15 mm, generally awned to 12 cm, 5--9-veined. Chromosomes: 2n=42.
Ecology: Escaped cereal crop along roadsides and in disturbed places; Elevation: generally < 500 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCoR, ScV, CW, SW, D; Distribution Outside California: North America; native to Near East. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul Note: The world's most widely planted crop.
Jepson eFlora Author: James P. Smith, Jr.
Reference: Morrison 2007 FNANM 24:268--277
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: James P. Smith, Jr. 2012, Triticum aestivum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 25, 2022.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2022, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 25, 2022.

Triticum aestivum
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© 2015 Barry Breckling
Triticum aestivum
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© 2005 Steve Matson
Triticum aestivum
click for enlargement
© 2005 Steve Matson
Triticum aestivum
click for enlargement
© 2005 Steve Matson
Triticum aestivum
click for enlargement
© 2005 Steve Matson
Triticum aestivum
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© 2011 Steve Matson

More photos of Triticum aestivum in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Triticum aestivum:
NCoR, ScV, CW, SW, D
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).