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 Definition Grass crop grown worldwide and used in making flour and fermentation for alcohol production. [d] [e]
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 Workgroup categories Agriculture and Biology [Categories OK]
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Problems to solve

Need to harmonize text size and colors of boxes at foot

Fixed Edit link on template. Now points to CZ. Derek Harkness 05:10, 26 December 2006 (CST) Thanks Derek David Tribe 04:54, 27 December 2006 (CST)

Image needed in Cereals links table template at end : currently shows code garbage

Stages of growth photos are incomplete

Need to go over Euro costings to verify validity or delete it

David Tribe 04:55, 27 December 2006 (CST)

Replaced Euro cost with sourced US ERS 2002 cost data. David Tribe 19:59, 28 December 2006 (CST)

A major content weakness still is the section on wheat diseases, and the wiki linked article is not readable either

David Tribe 20:58, 2 January 2007 (CST)

A number of grammar, spelling and syntax errors corrected as minor edits on 3 Jan 2007.

The following are comments that seem to need further input from others with appropriate expertise:

With population growth rates falling, while yields continue to rise, the acreage devoted to wheat may now begin to decline for the first time in modern human history.[13][10]

Is there empirical evidence that total global population growth rates are falling such that the comment can fairly be substantiated?

Response: Thanks for point , its a carryover from WP. Ill fix it and the others David Tribe 16:23, 4 January 2007 (CST). Text context of lack of wheat growth repositioned David Tribe 17:52, 5 January 2007 (CST)

Genes for the dwarfing trait, which changes plant stature, have had a huge effect on wheat yields world-wide and were major factors in the success of the Green revolution in Mexico and Asia. By 1997, 81% of the developing world was planted to semidwarf wheats, giving both increased yields and better response to nitrogenous fertilizer.

The problem called 'lodging' in taller varieties may merit a mention. 'Lodging' is when a ear stalk bends, or breaks (usually under adverse weather conditions) and does not recover to the vertical position for the seed head to mature. DONE BY Perry and David David Tribe 16:32, 6 January 2007 (CST)

Pests. Wheat is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including The Flame, Rustic Shoulder-knot, Setaceous Hebrew Character and Turnip Moth.

Should storage pests be included here? E.g. Indian meal moth, grain weevil?

Soft White — Soft, light colored, very low protein wheat grown in temperate moist areas. Used for pie crusts and pastry. Pastry flour, for example, is sometimes made from soft white winter wheat.

The last two sentences appear to contain a redundancy, but I was hesitant to edit it.

--Perry Spiller 02:51, 3 January 2007 (CST) Dont be shy Perry, and Thanks. Now deleted David Tribe 16:37, 6 January 2007 (CST)

I believe the following sentence(s) needs reworking:

"mutant forms with tough ears which remained attached to the ear"  (in the History section) Pedro Silva 04:27, 3 January 2007 (CST)


Not convinced that this is ready for approval yet. Did a bit of fact checking - the Fertile Crescent isn't really southwest Asia - in particular it includes Egypt. The origins of cultivation according to Diamond are 8500 BCE not 10,000 BCE (using BCE not B.P. ?). 


Here are better sources than Diamond favoring the earlier dates. Note wheat was not necessarily the first cultivated plant- possibly rye preceded it.

A crucial event in human history was the beginning of agriculture about 10,000 years ago in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic Near East (citing HN1 links ).

NHI links text :  is G. K. Sams provides a  guide to the terminology of the Neolithic in the Near East for a course on the archaeology of the ancient Near East. provides an Encyclopædia Britannica article about the  history of agriculture. The  Agropolis-Museum, Montpellier, France, offers a  Web exhibit on the history of food and agriculture.  W. Poe, Department of History, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA, provides  lecture notes on the emergence of agricultural communities for a course on the Ancient Near East; satellite images illustrating the  geography of the Near East and the locations of  Near East archaeological sites are provided.  G. Conrad, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, presents  lecture notes on agricultural origins in the Near Eastern Neolithic for a  course on the rise and fall of civilizations.  Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, makes available lecture notes for a  course on social evolution that includes a presentation on  first farmers of western Asia.

The Holocene, Vol. 11, No. 4, 383-393 (2001) New evidence of Lateglacial cereal cultivation at Abu Hureyra on the Euphrates Gordon Hillman (Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK Robert Hedges Research Laboratory for Archaeology and History, University of Oxford, 6 Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3QJ, UK Andrew Moore Office of the Dean, College of Liberal Arts, Rochester Institute of Technology, 92 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, New York 14623–5604, USA) Susan Colledge (Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK Paul Pettitt Research Laboratory for Archaeology and History, University of Oxford, 6 Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3QJ, UK

Hitherto, the earliest archaeological finds of domestic cereals in southwestern Asia have involved wheats and barleys dating from the beginning of the Holocene, 11–12000 calendar years ago. New evidence from the site of Abu Hureyra suggests that systematic cultivation of cereals in fact started well before the end of the Pleistocene by at least 13000 years ago, and that rye was among the first crops. The evidence also indicates that hunter-gatherers at Abu Hureyra first started cultivating crops in response to a steep decline in wild plants that had served as staple foods for at least the preceding four centuries. The decline in these wild staples is attributable to a sudden, dry, cold, climatic reversal equivalent to the ‘Younger Dryas’ period. At Abu Hureyra, therefore, it appears that the primary trigger for the occupants to start cultivating caloric staples was climate change. It is these beginnings of cultivation in the late Pleistocene that gave rise to the integrated grain-livestock Neolithic farming systems of the early Holocene. David Tribe 17:03, 6 January 2007 (CST)

Also I think that an emphasis on Egypt is probably wrong for earliest origins (unverified or tested at least ) as I've get to see a date in Egypt for wheat approach rhe antiquity of the Turkish sites. PS. Hancock JF 2004 gives 6000 BCE for wheat reaching Egypt David Tribe 05:42, 16 January 2007 (CST)

Some of the statements appear to be specific to the USA, but not clear that this was so. 81% of the developing world is planted with wheat? really can't believe this is true.

RESPONSE 81 percent of wheat planted is is indeed semi dwarf . I sighted it in one on the general refs but this time decided to omit a citation (just after reading the debate about excessive citation in the Forums!) Will edit to improve clarity.David Tribe 16:53, 4 January 2007 (CST)

What about GM varieties?

Not yet part of the major story. GM wheat has been strongly resisted in North America but this might change (low profitabliity has driven farmers there to GM corn soy). David Tribe 16:53, 4 January 2007 (CST)

Pests aren't really covered - think that rats mice and bird damage might be mentioned.

Great suggestion. Biblical plagues come to mind plus the ecology of massive food availabliity . Theres also some great Australian mice plague anecdotes - including (maybe not) Bowyangs. David Tribe 16:53, 4 January 2007 (CST)

The origins of cultivation are clearly very interesting but not covered convincingly - what is the evidence exactly? 

RESPONSE: I have now done a lot of delving into the primary literature on agricultures/cultivated wheat's origins, and this is being written into the text David Tribe 17:03, 6 January 2007 (CST)

The style is a bit of a hybrid, jumping between genetic technicalities and simple, lay accounts. Would have liked to see pictures of modern wheats compared with wild forms.Gareth Leng 06:26, 3 January 2007 (CST)

RESPONSES: Especially thanks for style comments. Open source pictures are hard to find.. I'd neglected this here but happened to be also developing Crop origins and evolution ( Im inserting this in Wheat as cross reference) where better more authoritive sources than Jared Diamond have been cited. Jared D is sometimes a bit short on primary research, although a fabulous biology writer. To take this further we need to set a target of having modern PRIMARY SOURCES on key facts which I am now working up (see later responses in serted above) . David Tribe

Reading through, and although I am in no position to check the botanical or agricultural accuracy, I think it's well written and informative in style. There is a sentence: "Commercial hybrid wheat seed has been produced using chemical hybridizing agents; these chemicals selectively interfere with pollen development, or naturally occurring cytoplasmic male sterility systems." Are there chemicals that promote naturally occurring cytoplasmic male sterility systems? " If so, I think you should put that word in, if not, I don't understand the sentence. Will go back and keep reading. Nancy Sculerati MD 08:19, 3 January 2007 (CST)

Reponse: Another WP carryover. Sometimes Im a little shy at editing WP stuff and annoyingly they never seem to cite sources!! David Tribe 16:29, 4 January 2007 (CST)

Made various edits. I separated Nile Delta and Fertile Crescent. Frankly, I think equatorial (and there abouts) Africa always gets the short shrift, but there is no historical record to prove it. In the US, the lack of history outside of the desert regions of Africa has been classically used to taunt people of African descent as to their lack of civilized where with all, and yet, from everything I've read, even in the Nile Delta area, there is nothing to record what went on except in those desert tombs that were isolated and hidden in a favorable climate for preservation. Meaning, that it seems reasonable that people of the warmer and more humid climates of Africa, where it seems we existed for exponentially many generations before getting elsewhere, likely did a lot of the "firsts". But if there is no record of even the villages that existed along the Northern Nile, only what got squirreled away in stone buried in desert sands, that there is no way that cultures along, say, the Niger River, or the other end of the Nile, have a "historical record". Anyway, I personally think it's enough to generally indicate where the historical record of wheat/grass agriculture starts without worrying about dilineating beween one desert nation and the next.

Here's another sentence I don't understand: "For example, the meïosis stage is very susceptible to low temperatures (below 4°C) or high temperatures (above 25°C)." What is the meiosis stage of wheat?

RESPONSE: This is another WP carryover that Ill prbably have too delete as it will be hard to verify. David Tribe 17:41, 6 January 2007 (CST)

I think the article is quite close to approval. Perhaps Chris Day, who is a botanist, might look at it. I'll "talk" to him. Nancy Sculerati MD 09:00, 3 January 2007 (CST)
I am a botanist but not an expert on wheat. This article if from an agronomy perspective and i am as weak as anyone in that area. I will read through it though, and check when i have time. Chris Day (Talk) 09:08, 3 January 2007 (CST)
 Two possibly interesting links: [1]

[2]Gareth Leng 12:00, 3 January 2007 (CST) Ill use these or similar somehow David Tribe 16:55, 4 January 2007 (CST)

Having looked at the links above, I say- see cats(history of domestication)  :-) Nancy Sculerati MD 14:44, 3 January 2007 (CST)

I know that deer eat a lot of "farmer's crops" and are "grain feed" "these days," but I have no clue what crops they eat.  Do they eat wheat?  From what I've heard, farmer's "protecting their livestock," by shooting wolves, and "damage from deer" has totally changed the ______ (ecosystem?) for deer / predators and has even changed the way venison tastes.  Do they eat wheat? and if yes, should it be included? -Tom Kelly (Talk) 18:17, 19 January 2007 (CST)

Interesting but currently need to shortnen the article a bit and Ive even cut other stuff out David Tribe 15:51, 20 January 2007 (CST)

Ready to approve?

OK I'm impressed by this now, and am happy to vote to approve. I've presented the references for the lead all at the end just to keep the lead clean of numbers - am happy to concede on this if it's not liked. Gareth Leng 09:48, 12 January 2007 (CST)

Ive been away at Horizontal gene transfer for a few days (addressing DGs concerns). Nice to see you there and here. Ill chase a few more points (on wheat pests in silos) and move to adding an approval template here David Tribe 21:20, 12 January 2007 (CST)

I suggest we have been approving a little too quickly. I see various points of detail, and I will see more over the newt few weeks, and expect to see yet more as other people change them. Given the difficulty we have experienced in making small changes after approval, I suggest we either need some sort of pre-approval--just like you--I'm ready --what do the rest of you think? or a considerably longer formal approval phase, or some way to say approved in principle.

This may to some extent be my problem, as I am accustomed to working for several things at a time, doing a little work on each, and then coming back to it--during the period away, I find things have gotten clearer. .DavidGoodman 01:30, 13 January 2007 (CST)

I'd talk to some folks at MSU

Michigan State University was founded as Michigan State (agricultural) college and is a leading university in research in this field. I'm sure there are some active and retired faculty who would love to work on an article like this if you know of anyone. -Tom Kelly (Talk) 21:47, 12 January 2007 (CST)

Thanks Tom. Reading through Hancock 2004 Plant Evolution I discovered Hancock is at Mich State and I might try writing to him. David Tribe 05:45, 16 January 2007 (CST)


1. spp. I have found in teaching that the meaning of the abreviation spp. and sp. are not understood by non-biologists, especially as there are some shades of meaning. In this case it is not clear whether the spp. in the name means various species of the genus, but it will not be clear whether it necessarily means all species in the genus, i.e. whether wheat and triticum are exact synonyms. The exact use of the common names is also unclear: can the only English common name of T. spelta be spelt, or is it a species of wheat? It may be necessary to specify something of the sort for all articles meant to be understandable by non-biologists.

the way I see it its called spelt in the same way oats are called oats but its a form of wheat. It appears on bread labels as spelt. David Tribe 22:14, 15 January 2007 (CST)

1a. names in general For the section "wheat in the USA" the approximate common names of the varieties is given. To what named varieties do they correspond?

Generally the are T. Aaestivum except durum David Tribe 22:14, 15 January 2007 (CST)

The section on origins uses einkorn and eincorn-- I do not know which is standard.

einkorn it should be thruout David Tribe 22:14, 15 January 2007 (CST)

Dates of BCE are used, which is a little unusual on such topics, and explained as "before the current era." It should be "before the common era." It probably would be better understood as equivalent to BC if the explanation is not given--the WP consensus is that people mostly skip over the difference. If explanation is needed in every article, a standardized footnote might be best.

In Wikipedia, there is an attempt to standardize the name of the country as either United States, or U.S., at least in the names of articles. This section in WP is called wheat in the United States. Elsewhere in the article, the abbreviation U.S. is used. We would do well to either follow their rule or settle it otherwise. see WP:ABB

2. Economics. The legend on the figure on wheat prices cannot be read. This leaves it unclear whether the prices are normalized, and , if so, to what year. It is not clear why wheat production by country is given in a table, for a fixed year, 2005, and wheat imports by country in a graph over a 30 year period. The cost of production is from a report dated 2002, but it is not stated for what year that applies. 2000?

3. Figures in general. Even using a 1680 X 1050 monitor resolution, the exact legend on the illustration in the taxobox cannot be clearly read, the lettering in the illustration of the wheat grain is lacking contrast. I think it may often be necessary to redraw lettering on many imported illustrations. Borderline readability of such text was tolerable in WP, where it gave the proper amateur appearance.

Yes, these are all details. But we're the first to encounter much of this. Perhaps we should use whatever comes to hand and go back standardize later? DavidGoodman 02:15, 13 January 2007 (CST)

Image resolution problems are a side effect of earlier problems with thumbnails not working with some file types and my initial graphics inexperience. I now know better solutions and will implement them. In general, a slow movement through the approval process and picky editors as far as detail is good- I experienced the clumsyness of too much speed in the Biology article.David Tribe 15:43, 13 January 2007 (CST)

1) BCE -maybe simplest is to wikilink first use. I think BCE is becoming standard convention in dates.... 2) US - I think in the UK it's thought that as the name of the country is the United States of America, it should be abbreviated to USA (as in Proc Natl Acad Sci USA). My guess is its usually USA outside the US.

Ill run with one of the U.S. or USA David Tribe 05:47, 15 January 2007 (CST)

3) I think some details like these are important but shouldn't hold us up, and hopefully they can get standardised later. My gut instincts are to go with what we've got, which is a very good and interesting article. Perfection can come later, when there are morehands on board, so lets do whats feasible to polish it and approve?Gareth Leng 11:14, 14 January 2007 (CST)

Gareth, I agree with you but there are other views. It seems that on the one hand there is the notion that an approved edition of an article should be good for a reader, and there is another opinion that if its not perfectly copyedited in all respects that it is not acceptable, and a third group of opinions approved articles should be on the open wiki or else receive immediate editorial response if edits are made on a draft page. At least, those are some of the threads. Please if you and David Tribe would look at the (1) Biology:draft talk page,(2) my user talk page , and most importantly- (3) pages 3 and 4 of the Biology article discussion on the Discussion forums. Please register your opinions so that we can either move on with the work or shift gears. Nancy Sculerati MD 11:27, 14 January 2007 (CST)

Approval process

thanks y'all I think its time to place this template with a one week period before the deadline. I see the whole process as a system of checks and balances with trade offs between our goals . I will update the URL pointer as various copy edits come in David Tribe 06:52, 15 January 2007 (CST)

Version 1

(Template commented out)

Approval process carried out by David Tribe 02:27, 23 January 2007 (CST) in his capacity of SYSOP

UPDATE: Ive trimmed a few less important reference citations, added about two well documented phrases base on reading Hancock 2004, run a Word spell check and updated the template url pointer. David Tribe 07:34, 16 January 2007 (CST)

three most popular human food grain crops

According to the FAO figures cited in the articles, 700 million metric tons of rice were produced in 2005, which is more than wheat (625). (However I guess that for human food, wheat ranks 2d ahead of maize, since maize is widely used for livestock).--Martin Kalck 07:52, 18 January 2007 (CST)

Id guess you're right Martin. Also on protein quantity wheat leads rice , as it has higher protein content than either rice or maize.

So, in protein quantity, mightn't it lead maize too? Differences in production are not that great. --Martin Kalck 16:15, 18 January 2007 (CST)
I rechecked 2005 FAOSTAT figures. Wheat leads rice on total figures but close to 15% of wheat is used for feed, putting rice ahead in food stakes but not protein stakes. Wheat is tops in protein. Clearly growth in wheat is in the doldrums due to lack of profitability and better $s with other crops. All spelled out in detailed ERS report in External links. David Tribe 00:46, 20 January 2007 (CST)

I also wonder if it's really logical to have a whole section devoted to the US, while it accounts for less than 10% of global production. Or maybe there should be something about China and India before the article is approved. --Martin Kalck 08:23, 18 January 2007 (CST)

I have checked numbers for protein levels (wheat 14% maize 10%) and feed use (maize 66% feed use worldwide and rising, CIMMYT STATs, wheat feed use 15%))and have now drafted a change that addresses this issue.(In doing so I better appreciated Martin's point!) The bottleneck was not that I dont know the stuff, but locating a reference to check my memory is not in error! FACT CHECKING! David Tribe 04:42, 19 January 2007 (CST)

I think these are imperfections, certainly, but should not preclude the approval of the article. It's at 31 kilobytes now, and I think that work on other countries can be continued with the draft. At that point, we can eliminate the US section and replace it with a brief section "Wheat production on a geographic basis" , and make a new article of "Wheat production in different regions" that includes a section at least as detailed as the current US section on other, admittedly more important (volumewise) regions. The thing is, we need the references and expertise to write those other sections, and we presently (at least as far as I can tell) don't have them. Nancy Sculerati MD 09:04, 18 January 2007 (CST)

I think a section on "Wheat production on a geographic basis" would be better. The current version appears to me slightly unbalanced. Apart from that, I have no particular knowledge on the subject and I think the article reads pretty well; and it's really interesting, congratulations.--Martin Kalck 16:15, 18 January 2007 (CST)
I think I can (UPDATE: I HAVE) write a section on wheat production world wide and point to another article (to which I can transfer Wheat in the USA as one section) as the main article on the topic. The section of wheat it could be short and merely point out salient aspects of the main producers and how the differ. It would be beneficial to shorten this page. Ill try it to see if it can be done easily. If not well adopt Martin's strategy. We definitely need to move on to other tasks and stop short of perfection to notch up a portfolio of approved article which is still meagre and our main weakness David Tribe 01:26, 19 January 2007 (CST)

Rewritten last section. Added anecdotal stuff stuff (in Species section) and reference to Harold McGhee's excellent food encyclopedia. Reformatted printed fig layout to avoid table overlap. Shotened URL in taxon box that caused wide printed box. David Tribe 19:13, 19 January 2007 (CST)

Last substantive issues

Thanks. I have two last questions. YOu've written that wheat production in the US was superior to that in India which contradicts the figures of the table. Is it just a typing mistake? In my mind US wheat commerce not production is superior to India's. My second question is: shouldn't section about geographical variation be put just after that on economy? They deal with the same kind of subject.--Martin Kalck 01:54, 20 January 2007 (CST)
Noted the apparent descrepancy you mention. It comes I think from using a different source for the statements in the text as compared to the table stats. Maybe rank order changes over time. Certainly US planted area has changed over the years. But I dont see where I wrote (implied?) US is (qualitatively?) "superior" to India , and at least didnt intend it. Re text section order:I may change the order in the morning, after more thought- currently it's late night here and I'm tired. David Tribe 08:09, 20 January 2007 (CST)

UPDATE moved it and new position is clearly better allround thanks . Also Im currently updating Intl Wheat stats page with time series data to fully resolve stats issue you raised . Yes indeed, India overtook USA in total output in the late 1990sDavid Tribe 15:53, 20 January 2007 (CST)

Replaced dead taxo box after "big delete". Makes it better too. The taxobox stuff is redundant with wheat taxonomy link. Also added water efficient Drysdale wheat comments to breeding and genetics section at the end. And refs on water effient wheat breeding which is a big issue. Realised the auto warning size limit at 32 kb is too conservative thanks to note from Tom Kelly. But still think size discipline is healthy. David Tribe 18:49, 21 January 2007 (CST)



Congrats on the approval! --Larry Sanger 23:07, 23 January 2007 (CST)

BTW I hate to say it but this also needs to be assigned to the Agriculture Workgroup. I think right now we can stipulate that the approval of either workgroup is adequate for approval, however. --Larry Sanger 12:29, 28 January 2007 (CST) Bold text

Approved/Unapproved conflict

Why does this article bear the "unapproved" disclaimer and the "Approved" template? They're mutually contradictory. -- David Still 05:27, 23 March 2007 (CDT)

It's called a "bug," David. You can report bugs at --Larry Sanger 08:18, 23 March 2007 (CDT)

Approved Version 1/0


Is there a reason that this should be in the biology workgroup as well as the agriculture workgroup? Surely not all agriculture articles will be biology articles, any more than all economics articles will be sociology articles just because economic behavior is also social behavior; this seems plausible as an ag.-only topic. --Larry Sanger 14:46, 15 March 2007 (CDT)

One reason for also including it in Biology is that it illustrates and contains much fundamental genetics that is of importance, as will the article Maize in time. David Tribe 15:18, 21 March 2007 (CDT)

Approval 1.1 Comment

I've modified the Approval template to allow for two workgroups. Use it like this: {{approved|editor=David Tribe|group=Biology|group2=Agriculture}} -- ZachPruckowski (Speak to me) 11:20, 22 March 2007 (CDT)

APPROVED Version 1.1

Draft category

I think the draft categories were copied over by mistake in the last approval. They should not be used on the main article. Just on the draft page. Chris Day (Talk) 11:51, 23 March 2007 (CDT)

Wheat Allergy

I think the article needs a link to another article that addressed wheat allergies/sensitivities (in humans). -Tom Kelly (Talk) 19:47, 24 March 2007 (CDT)

A typo

There lacks the full stop after the word "bran". Good copy-edit should be done before approving. As I cannot edit the article (where can I edit the unapproved version?), please change the text. Andres Luure 01:36, 26 March 2007 (CDT)

I found out how to make the change on the draft, and I did it. Andres Luure 01:39, 26 March 2007 (CDT)

Another typo: the section title "Hulled versus free-threshing wheat" is on a wrong level. Andres Luure 03:07, 26 March 2007 (CDT)

List of species

There should be a list of wheat species here. Andres Luure 01:45, 26 March 2007 (CDT)

Now I see that the this in Wheat taxonomy. But there is no mention of the family and order (and subfamily and tribe) wheat belongs to. Andres Luure 02:05, 26 March 2007 (CDT)

Wikipedia credit

A tiny part of the text appears to come from Wikipedia. What about some nice rewording to make clear that no Wp-credit is needed? Here it goes:

  • A millennium later it reached China
  • On threshing, the chaff breaks up, releasing the grains
  • Many other popular foods are made from wheat flour as well, resulting in a large demand for the grain even in economies with a significant food surplus
  • Several systems exist to identify crop stages, with the Feekes and Zadoks scales being the most widely used
  • Each scale is a standard system which describes successive stages reached by the crop during the agricultural season
  • Wheat genetics is more complicated than that of most other domesticated species
  • Most tetraploid wheats (e.g. emmer and durum wheat) are derived from wild emmer,....
  • Hexaploid wheats evolved in farmers' fields

--AlekStos 14:58, 28 March 2007 (CDT)