Triticum aestivum spelta
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Common Name: Spelt Wheat
Triticum aestivum spelta is an annual plant that can grow up to 1.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
Original habitat is obscure.
Developed through cultivation, it is not known in a truly wild location.
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most well-drained soils in a sunny position. Succeeds in poor soils[
Spelt probably arose through cultivation around 8,000 years ago following a cross between T. dicoccum and Aegilops squarrosa. This cross contributed an extra protein gene to the seed, making a stronger flour that is more suitable for making bread. It is sometimes cultivated for its edible seed, especially in the hilly country of C. and N.W. Europe[
]. There are some named varieties[
]. It is becoming increasingly popular as a health-food crop, although it contains gluten it is said to be more nutritious than bread wheat and suitable for many people who are intolerant of the gluten in bread wheat
A hexaploid species[
Seed - cooked[
]. It is usually ground into a flour and used as a cereal for making bread, biscuits etc. Pasta made from this grain has a delicious nutty flavour[
]. The seed retains its glumes when threshed[
The straw has many uses, as a biomass for fuel etc, for thatching, as a mulch in the garden etc[
A fibre obtained from the stems is used for making paper[
]. The stems are harvested in late summer after the seed has been harvested, they are cut into usable pieces and soaked in clear water for 24 hours. They are then cooked for 2 hours in lye or soda ash and then beaten in a ball mill for 1½ hours in a ball mill. The fibres make a green-tan paper[
The starch from the seed is used for laundering, sizing textiles etc[
]. It can also be converted to alcohol for use as a fuel.
Seed - sow early spring or autumn in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within a few days[