Anelytrum avenaceum Hack.
Avena ambigua Schönh.
Avena cultiformis (Malzev) Malzev
Avena intermedia Lindgr.
Avena intermedia T.Lestib.
Avena japonica Steud.
Avena lanuginosa Gilib.
Avena ludoviciana glabrescens (Durieu ex Godr.) Husn.
Avena ludoviciana glabrescens Durieu ex Godr.
Avena meridionalis (Malzev) Roshev.
Avena nigra Wallr.
Avena occidentalis Durieu
Avena patens St.-Lag.
Avena pilosa Scop.
Avena sativa fatua (L.) Fiori
Avena sativa sericea Hook.f.
Avena septentrionalis Malzev
Avena sterilis Delile ex Boiss.
Avena sterilis glabrescens (Durieu ex Godr.) Husn.
Avena sterilis glabrescens (Durieu ex Godr.) Malzev
Avena vilis Wallr.
Common Name: Wild Oats
Avena fatua is an annual, tufted grass with erect to ascending stems 30 - 150cm long.
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine.
This is a widespread, noxious weed, considered to be among the world's worst agricultural weeds. It is found especially in fields of wheat and cultivated oats but also grows in other cultivated crops and on wasteland. Originally native to Europe and C and SW Asia, it has now spread throughout temperate regions of the world[
Macaronesia; widespread throughout temperate Eurasia; N. Africa - Morocco to Egypt.
A common weed of arable land and waste ground[
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Avena fatua is a very versatile plant, with geographical forms adapted to local climates and conditions. It can grow in any region where wheat or oats are grown. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 12 - 20°c, but can tolerate 2 - 30°c[
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -15°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 600 - 1,000mm, but tolerates 290 - 1,600mm[
Succeeds in any moderately fertile well-drained soil in full sun[
]. Prefers a poor dry soil[
]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 6.5.
Presumed by some to be a parent of the cultivated oat, Avena sativa[
] but the seeds are somewhat smaller and yields lower. Other evidence points to Avena sterilis as being the wild ancestor of Avena sativa, whilst Avena fatua as a weedy derivative[
]. Hybrids between Avena sativa and Avena fatua with hairy florets or well-developed awns may occur where the two species grow together[
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[
]. The seed ripens in the latter half of summer and, when harvested and dried, can store for several years. 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 roasted seed is a coffee substitute.
The seeds are diuretic, emollient and refrigerant[
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.
This species could be of importance in breeding programmes for the cultivated oats (Avena sativa), where it could confer drought tolerance, disease resistance and higher yields.
Seed - sow in situ in early spring or in the autumn. Only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.