Wheat, or Triticum, L. a genus of plants, comprehending about 16 species, of which the following are the principal:
I. The repens See Dog's-grass.
II. The cestivum, or Spring Wheat, is probably a native of Southern Siberia and Sicily, whence its culture has been gradually dispersed throughout Europe :it ripens about the same time as the Winter, or Common Wheat, even though it be sown in February or March. This species is divided into the following varieties, name1. The T. cestivum, spica et grana rubente, or Spring-Wheat, with a red spike or ear, and grain.
2. The T.astivum, rubrum, spica alba, Red Spring-Wheat, with a white ear.
3. The T. aestivum, spica et grana alba, or Spring-Wheat, with a white spike and grain. These, and all other varieties of the same species, are beardless, and may be sown from the end of February till early in May. They are not easily affected by moisture, or severe frost, and afford excellent starch.
III. The hybernum, Winter or Common Wheat, is principally raised in Britain: its grains are somewhat fuller than those of the preceding species ; and its chief varieties are :
1. The T. hybernum, spica et rubente, or Common Wheat, with a red ear and grain.
2. The T. hybernum rubrum, spica alba, or Common Wheat, with a white ear.
3. The T. hybernum rubrum, spica et gratia alba, or Winter Wheat, with white ears and grains. - These varieties are also destitute of beards, and should not be sown earlier than in September, nor later than in November. - They produce the most valuable wheat, which yields the largest proportion of flour.
I V. The turgidum, Thick-spiked, or Cone Wheat, each plant bearing from four to eight ears, and each of the latter from 30 to 70 grains : it differs from the preceding species, both in its bearded ears, and its small plump grains, which are more convex on the back than those of the Spring or Winter Wheat. - The principal varieties are :
1. The T. turgidum conicum album, or White Cone Wheat.
2. The T. turgidum conicum rubrum, or Red Cone Wheat.
3. The T. turgidum arisliferum, Large-bearded Cone-wheat, Clog-wheat, Square-wheat, or Rivets.
4. The T. turgidum, spica mul-tiplici, or many-eared Cone-wheat. - These varieties are well-calculated for strong, damp, soils; but the corn is apt to lodge, if it be sown too closely. Its grain is said to be productive of more flour than any other sort of wheat, though it is much browner, and of an inferior quality.
V. The Pulonicum, or Polish
Wheat, resembles the preceding species ; but its stalks attain the height of 5 or 6 feet; the leaves are white-striped, from 12 to 24 inches, and the ears 6 inches, in length, This noble grain is not cultivated to any extent in Britain, though remarkably fruitful, and yielding abundance of flour. It ought to be sown sparingly ; as it is apt to lodge, in consequence of which the quality of the corn is impaired.
VI. The Spella, Spelt, or German Wheat, is principally raised in that country, and nearly resembles barley; though its stalks are shorter. In Thuringia, it is generally sown about Michaelmas, in stony, mountainous lands, which are otherwise fit only for oats. In France, Swabia, Franconia, and on the banks of the Rhine, it is more extensively cultivated, even in better soils. - It is well known in commerce, that the incomparable Nuremberg and Frankfort starch and flour, are solely obtained from Spelt-wheat. Hence, we are induced to recommend its culture in the northern parti of this island, which, abound in rocky pasture grounds, especially in Scotland, where they are often rented at is. 6d. per acre. We must, however, remark that this excellent grain cannot be divested of its husks by thrashing, and that it requires the operation of a mill for that purpose; but it ought to be sown or drilled together with the husks.
VII. The Siberian Spring Wheat, has but lately been introduced into Britain : it attains to maturity as early as the Common Spring Wheat, and increases in the proportion of 25 to one.
VIII. The Switzerland Spring
Wheat, ripens a fortnight earlier than the common sort of that season.
IX. The Egyptian Wheat is remarkable for its uncommon fruit-fulness : its straw is strong and tough, whence it has received the name of reed-wheat. The grains, however, do not yield so large a proportion of flour or meal as any of the preceding species or varieties ; and the flour is scarcely superior to that obtained from the finest barley.
X. The Zealand Wheat is chiefly raised in the county of Kent: the straw is long and tough, resembling reeds; the ears are large; the grains white, and fall-bodied. - This species is well calculated for poor soils; for, if it be sown on rich lands, it is apt " to run up to straw."
Lastly, there is a species of Spring Wheat, cultivated in the island of Jersey, and which is termed Froment Tremais; being only three months in the ground : its ears and grains are small, but yield a nutritious flour. - Like the Cone-wheat, the last seven species arc furnished with long beards.
The White, or Spring and Summer Wheats, flourish best on light soils, while the other kinds and varieties are more advantageously raised on strong lands. The ground, however, ought previously to be well tilled and pulverized: thus, if a crop of wheat be taken after clover has been ploughed in, it will prove uncommonly fine and abundant.
This beneficial corn is propagated, by sowing it either broad-east, or by Drilling it with Mr. Cooke's, or similar drill-machine; or by Mr. Jervas Wright's implement for sowing wheat and other grain ; which may be affixed to a plough, or manufactured of any requisite size. - Mr. W. obtained a patent for this invention, in 1784, and, as his privilege is now expired, farmers may avail themselves of his contrivance, described in the 15th volume of the "Repertory of Arts, " where it is farther illustrated by an engraving.
Wheat may also be dibbled; but, though a considerable saving is thus obtained in the quantity of seed, yet such method is by no means preferable to drilling. Within a few years, indeed, it has been proposed to increase the plant by dividing the root; and various experiments have been successfully made, with the view of saving seed-corn : the most remarkable is that of Mr. Charles Miller, of Cambridge. He sowed some wheat on the 2d of June, 1766; on the 8th day of August in the same year, a single plant was taken up, divided into 18 parts, and each part separately transplanted. Between the middle of September and October, these plants were again removed, their roots divided into 67 portions; which were likewise set at a proper distance from each other, for enduring the winter. Next, they were dug up a third time, and divided in a similar manner, between, the middle of March and the 12th of April; in consequence of which, they produced Jive hundred plants. Thus, a single grain yielded in one season :
Ears - - 21, 109
In number 570, 000 fold !
In measure 3 3/4 pecks.
In weight 47 pounds.
For a more particular account of this experiment, the reader will consult the 58th vol. of the "Phi-loSophical Transaclions of the Royal
Wheat is subject to the Mildew, and various other disorders, of which we have already treated, under the heads of Barley, CorN, etc. Hence we shall, by way of supplement, cornmunicate two other remedies, which are recommended as being singularly efficacious in preventing the Smut. - M. HOCH-heimer, whose authority is often questionable, relates in his German collection of economical and other facts, that wheat moistened with strong vinegar, in the proportion of 24 lbs. of the grain to 1 pint of this liquor, will be perfectly secure from that distemper. The corn should thus be prepared, shortly before it is sown ; and, though it be kept for a fortnight in such acidified state, on account of rainy weather., yet it will not receive the least injury. - The next remedy is that proposed by Mr. Robert SomERVILLE (" Com-munications - to the Board of Agricul-ture, " vol. ii.), who attributes this disease to an insect resembling the wood-louse, though infinitely smaller ; depositing its eggs in the chaff, or downy part of the wheat : and, as these vermin, if sown with the seed, would either totally destroy the stem of the future plant, or cause it to produce smut-balls, he advises the infected or suspected grains to be washed in water ; by which expedient, all light or imperfect seed may not only be skimmed off the surface, but the greater part of the eggs of such insects will be separated. As, however, some of these eggs, notwithstanding this precaution, adhere to the grain, Mr. S. recommends the following preparation, that is preferable to infusions of lime, arsenic, and other mineral ingredients, which often retard or destroy vegetation : - Take of tobacco-leaves, of pulverized hellebore, and of Barbadoes aloes, each one pound ; boil the two first sub-stances, for about an hour and an half, in 10 English gallons of water. The fluid should next be strained through the sieve; then put into a vessel over the fire ; and the aloes be added in a state of powder. The whole must now boil, till the last ingredient be completely dissolved ; the liquor ought afterwards to be removed from the fire, and poured into a large vessel; when perfectly cold, it should be diluted with such a quantity of pure water as will amount to thirty gallons. The seed ought to be immersed in this preparation, and briskly agitated for 20 minutes ; after which it must be dried on canvas, or on the floor. - Mr. S. remarks, that if 2lbs. of coarse glue or gum-arabic be dissolved, its tenacity will cause the bitter ingredients to adhere more firmly to the grain. - The expence of this compound is said not to exceed seven or eight shillings, and to be sufficient for twelve bolls (six English quarters) of wheat ; and, though such liquor be not prejudicial to vegetation, it is so nauseous, that neither pigeons, nor any other of the devouring tribe, will touch it. Mr. Somerville, therefore, proposes the following method of destroying vermin on the growing crop: A piece of double flannel, about two yards in breadth, and sufficiently long to go across a ridge, ought to be provided with cords at each end, to serve as ban handles, and also furnished with small pieces of lead at the bottom, as represented in the following figure.
A, the flannel.
B, B, the cord.
C, C, C, C, C, C, C, C, C, C, C, C, C, C, are the weights.
This cloth, or blanket, must be dipped in the preparation above described, or in a strong decoction of rue, chamomile, and similar bitter herbs; which is equally disgustful to vermin of every description. One person is then to lay hold of each end of the cord, and to draw the flannel after them in the direction of the ridge, so as to touch the top of every plant : the same operation is repeated a second time over each ridge, in a contrary direction ; by which means, both sides will come in contact with the liquid, and the depredations of insects, in general, be effectually prevailed. This sweeping, however, ought, if possible, to be performed in dry weather ; because those particles of the nauseous ingredients, which may be left upon the ears, will more firmly adhere, than if the latter were in a wet state.
The proper period for reaping wheat, is by no means ascertained ; some farmers asserting that it is most advantageous to cut the grain before It is perfectly ripe, while others are of opinion, that it ought to stand till nearly ready to be reaped and housed. The anonymous author of the " Farmer's Calendar, " observes, .that the safest way is that of adopting a middle course, with a particular regard to a fair time. If, however, there beany appearance of blight, Mr. A. Young thinks, that farmers cannot cut their wheat too early. He remarks, that the green state of the straw is no indication that the grain is immature; because the straw of blighted corn never acquires a bright yellow colour; but remains green till it becomes black. When the stalk is in this condition, the circulation of the sap ceases; and the grain daily decreases in size. He, therefore, advises the wheat to be cut; laid down on the stubble; exposed to the dew; frequently turned ; and, when perfectly dry, the grain may be tied up in sheaves, and carried to the barn. Thus, thousands of bushels maybe annually saved, that might afford good marketable grain; part of which would otherwise never be thrashed out of the ears, - while the remainder would be so light and brittle, as to be dispersed in winnowing; the straw will at the same time be tough, and fit for thatching; whereas, without adopting such method, it could not fail of being beaten to pieces in thrashing. - See also the article Granary.
Wheat. - In the 2d vol. of the " Transactions of the Economical Society of Florence" etc. M. Fabbroni states, that the farmers of Tuscany divide the seeds of pulse, and particularly of beans, each half of which they plant in the earth, and obtain luxuriant crops. He made an experiment with some grains of corn, which were coarsely pounded, and thrown into a vessel of water; when the particles, containing germs, sank to the bottom. These were sown, and produced plants equal in goodness to those raised from whole grains; many of the former even shooting forth a greater number of stalks.