Einkorn

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Einkorn

 

a group of wheat species in which usually only one grain develops in each spikelet. The compact, flattened head, or ear, has a fragile axis. The spikelets are arranged on the axis singly or in two rows; they are biflorate, with one fertile flower and one usually underdeveloped flower. The grain is scaly and cannot be threshed. The plants are diploid, having two sets of seven chromosomes. Of the four species, one is cultivated and three are wild.

The cultivated species, Triticum monococcum, is a spring plant measuring up to 130 cm high. Its stems are resistant to lodging. In the USSR, the plant is encountered in the Crimea and the Caucasus, where it grows as a rare admixture among plantings of other wheats and as a weed. In some countries of southern Europe, it is grown as a feed crop.

The wild einkorns—wild small spelt (T. boeoticum), T. thaoudar, and T. urarthu—differ from the cultivated einkorn in a number of ways. They are winter crops, and they are shorter than T. monococcum. Their stems generally lodge, and their ears are narrower and more fragile. T. boeoticum and T. thaoudar grow along dry mountain slopes and in light mountain forests in the Balkans, the Crimea, the Caucasus, Asia Minor, and Southwest Asia. T. urarhu is encountered on dry foothills in Armenia. The young plants are suitable for livestock feed. The hard beaks and awns of the spikelets of mature plants can damage the stomach wall of animals.

REFERENCE

Zhukovskii, P. M. Kul’turnye rasteniia i ikh sorodichi, 3rd ed. Leningrad, 1971.

T. V. EGOROVA

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