Title Info
Common name Wheat
Scientific name Triticum aestivum
Taxonomic group Poaceae
Source Dan L. Perlman
Economic botany Food plants
Food plants Grains and cereals
Keywords Gramineae
Wheat, <i>Triticum aestivum</i>
Related materials: Wheat

Wheat. One of the oldest cultivated plants, wheat was first domesticated about 10,000 years ago in southwestern Asia, in the Fertile Crescent. There are several distinct species used for human food, as well as many species of wild relatives. Triticum aestivum, shown in this image, is used primarily for making bread; it has a high gluten content, which is critical in trapping the carbon dioxide given off by yeast as it ferments. These carbon dioxide bubbles are responsible for making bread rise. Many different types of T. aestivum exist, including winter and summer wheats, hard and soft wheats, and those with higher and lower protein content. Dr. Norman Borlaug received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the Green Revolution during the 1950s and 1960s, developing vastly improved strains of food crops--especially of wheat and especially for use in tropical lands.