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Spike of A. ventricosa is moniliform.
Illustrator Cindy Roché
©Utah State University

Species density based on various works

Genomic constitution

There are several genomes present in Aegilops: B, C, D, M, N, U, X, and Z. More information can be found at http://herbarium.usu.edu/Triticeae/genomesaegilops.htm

Distinguishing features

Plants annual. Inflorescences cylindrical, moniliform, or ovoid, with 2-10(12) spikelets, at least the distal spikelets with either or both the glumes and lemmas awned. Disarticulating in the rachis, sometimes the whole inflorescence falling, at each node, the spikelets usually falling with the internode above the node attached, sometimes with the internode below. Glumes rounded on the back, their tips toothed or awned.

Description

Plants annual. Culms 14-80 cm tall, erect or geniculate at the base.

Leaf blades 1.5-10 mm wide, flat.

Inflorescence spikelike, cylindrical, moniliform, or ovoid, with 2-10(12) spikelets, usually with 2-3 rudimentary spikelets at the base, sometimes the distal spikelets sterile; disarticulation at the base of the inflorescence or in the rachis, at the internode below or above the spikelet.

Spikelets solitary at the nodes, sessile, tangential to the rachis, closely appressed to the concave surface of the internodes, half as long as to almost as long as the adjacent internode.

Glumes ovate to rectangular, coriaceous, rounded on the back, with several prominent veins. apices truncate, subentire, toothed, or awned. Lemmas thin, mostly hyaline but the distal portion coriaceous, rounded on the back, apices with 1-3 teeth or awns. Lodicules trullate to angular-ovate, the margins ciliate. Anthers 1.5-4 mm.

Caryopsis sometimes adhering to the palea

Size

22 species

Distribution

Geographic: Central and Mediterranean Europe, northern Africa, southern Ukraine, Crimea, the Caucasus, and western Asia. Some species have become established as weeds beyond this range.

Elevation: From -400 m to 2700 m.

Ecology: In somewhat disturbed habitats, both ruderal and segetal. Rarely dominant.

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Miscellaneous comments

In all the polyploid species of Triticum, all but one of the genomes comes from Aegilops.

Alternative interpretations

Aegilops is sometimes, and justifiably, included with Amblyopyrum in Triticum. Several of its species  hybridize with species of Triticum. Polyploid derivatives of such hybrids are included in Triticum. This is one of the arguments for merging the two genera into one which, in accordance with the Inernational Rules of Botanical Nomenclature, would be called Triticum. The strongest argument for keeping the two genera separate is tradition. Another argument is that they fill have different ecological niches. Species of Aegilops are weedy; species of Triticum are not.

Type species

Aegilops triuncialis

References

Slageren, M.W. van 1994. Wild Wheats: A Monograph of Aegilops L. and Amblyopyrum (Jaub. & Spach) Eig. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 94—7. Wageningen Acricultural University and International Center for Agfricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Wageningen, The Netherlands and Aleppo, Syria. 512 pp.