Forage Identification: Wheat

Department of Plant Sciences

Wheat (X Triticum aestivum L.)

Wheat originated in Asia. Although it is mostly used as a grain crop, it can be used as an annual forage crop. Wheat has good winter hardiness and can burn up with excess heat. It can tolerate a wide range of soils, but does not tolerate flooding at all.


Growth Habitat:
Wheat is an annual grass that usually is planted at the end of the summer. It overwinters and then starts growing and maturing towards the end of spring and beginning of the summer.


Plant Characteristics:
Wheat is a bunch grass with upright tillers. The leaves are rolled in the whorl. Leaf blades are smooth near the base and rough near tip on the upper side. Lower side entirely smooth. Leaf sheath is round and split with overlapping margins and may be smooth or hairy. Leaf collar is broad and auricles are small and hairy. Ligule is rounded and appears frayed. May have hairs. Wheat has a fibrous root system.


Seed Characteristics:
Light tan to brown color. It has a ribbed front and smooth back surface.


Important Identifying Characteristics:
Wheat has short auricles which are hairy. Leaf sheath is not hairy.


Primary Uses:
Pasture, hay and silage.

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