Avena byzantina biaristata (Hack. ex Trab.) Thell.
Avena sativa biaristata Hack. ex Trab.
Avena sativa byzantina (K.Koch) Romero Zarco
Avena sterilis biaristata (Hack. ex Trab.) Malzev
Avena sterilis biaristata (Hack. ex Trab.) Thell.
Avena sterilis byzantina (K.Koch) Thell.
Avena sterilis hypomelanthera Thell.
Common Name: Red Oat
Seed ripening at Kew Gardens, London, England
Photograph by: Kew on Flickr
Avena byzantina is an annual grass with erect to ascending stems 60 - 150cm tall.
A species of oat, it is often cultivated on a small scale for its edible seed in warmer temperate zones[
Southeast Europe - Greece; W. Asia - Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran
Dry wasteland, cultivated ground and meadows, especially on heavier soils[
]. Mainly found on dry or saline soils[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Avena byzantina is a plant of the warm temperate zone, though it can also be cultivated in the subtropics and tropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 28°c, but can tolerate 2 - 36°c[
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -19°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 600 - 900mm, but tolerates 400 - 1,100mm[
Succeeds in any moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun[
]. Succeeds in somewhat saline soils[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 7, but can tolerate 5 - 8.2[
Average seed yield is about 1.8 - 2 tonnes per hectare, while good yields can reach 3 tonnes[
Plants can take from 110 - 270 days from sowing to harvesting
A hexaploid species
Oats are in general easily grown plants but, especially when grown on a small scale, the seed is often completely eaten out by birds. Some sort of netting seems to be the best answer on a garden scale.
Seed - cooked[
]. It has a floury texture and a mild, somewhat creamy flavour. It can be used as a staple food crop in either savoury or sweet dishes. The seed can be cooked whole, though it is more commonly ground into a flour and used as a cereal in all the ways that oats are used, especially as a porridge but also to make biscuits, sourdough bread etc. The seed can also be sprouted and eaten raw or cooked in salads, stews etc.
The seed ripens in the latter half of summer and, when harvested and dried, can store for several years.
The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.
The straw has a wide range of uses such as for bio-mass, fibre, mulch, paper-making and thatching[
]. Some caution is advised in its use as a mulch since oat straw can infest strawberries with stem and bulb eelworm.
Seed - sow in situ in early spring or in the autumn. Only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.