Triticum monococcum L. subsp. monococcum (Einkorn wheat )

Crop Type: Open field crop

Breeding system: Predominantly autogamous

Einkorn (Triticum monococcum L.) is a diploid wheat (genomic designation AA) with characteristic hulled grains and delicate ears and spikelets. It is an annual species belonging to the Poaceae family. In 1993, Zohary and Hopf suggested considering the wild form as subspecies boeoticum and the cultivated form as subspecies monococcum. Einkorn is a crop that has supported Neolithic agriculture in the Fertile Crescent region. It has been planted throughout Europe over thousands of years. Its cultivation, however, received a dramatic reduction after the Bronze Age (Zohary and Hopf 1993).

The mechanization of agriculture has led to the decrease of a crop which was at some point an important element of the farming systems. Einkorn not only provided food for animals but it also produced a valuable material for thatching, basketry and other purposes. However, as the rural farming systems broke down, most of these activities also disappeared. Hulled forms of domesticated einkorn are markedly more difficult to thresh than spelt and dicoccum wheats, and wild einkorn strains pose even greater dehulling problems owing to their smaller and more slender-shaped seeds (Vallega 1992).

  • Vallega V (1992) Agronomical performance and breeding value of selected strains of diploid wheat, Triticum monococcum. Euphytica 61: 13-23.
  • Zohary D, Hopf M (1993) Domestication of plants in the Old World. In: The Origin and Spread of Cultivated Plants in West Asia, Europe, and the Nile Valley (Second Edition). Clarendon Press, Oxford, England, pp. 32-38