Ethiopian wheat (Triticum aethiopicum Jakubz.) is a herbaceous species of the Poaceae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Species T. aethiopicum.
The terms are synonyms:
– Gigachilon aethiopicum (Jakubz.) Á.Löve;
– Triticum abyssinicum Flaksb.;
– Triticum compactum var. compressum Körn.;
– Triticum compactum var. copticum Körn.;
– Triticum dicoccon var. arraseita (Hochst. ex Körn.) Percival;
– Triticum dicoccon var. schimperi (Körn.) Percival;
– Triticum diversiflorum Steud.;
– Triticum diversifolium Steud.;
– Triticum durum subsp. abyssinicum Vavilov;
– Triticum durum var. arraseita Hochst. ex Körn.;
– Triticum durum var. schimperi Körn.;
– Triticum recognitum Steud.;
– Triticum turgidum Steud.;
– Triticum turgidum subsp. abyssinicum Vavilov;
– Triticum venulosum Hochst. ex Steud..
The term Triticum, according to Varro, derives from beaten tritum, due to the use of beating the wheat to separate the grains from the ears.
The specific epithet aethiopicum comes from Aethiopia Ethiopia, therefore Ethiopian and by extension African.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Triticum aethiopicum is a wheat closely related to Triticum durum. Ethiopia is considered a center of origin and diversity for many crop species, including tetraploid wheat species.
Its origin is, therefore, from eastern and southern Africa. Its area of origin mainly includes countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Sudan. These regions have the climatic and environmental conditions suitable for the cultivation of Triticum aethiopicum, which is adapted to local conditions, including high temperatures and dry soils.
Triticum aethiopicum is a wild wheat species found primarily in open, sunny habitats, such as grasslands, savannas, and drylands. It is able to tolerate drought conditions and often grows in poor, stony soil.
However, it should be noted that due to the cultivation and spread of crops, the natural habitat of Triticum aethiopicum may have been altered or replaced by cultivated fields or other domesticated plants.
Triticum aethiopicum is an annual herbaceous plant that grows to a height of about 1-1.5 meters.
It has characteristics similar to other wheat species, such as the upright flower spikes that bear the wheat grains. However, it differs from other wheat varieties due to its unique morphological and genetic characteristics.
The ears of Ethiopian wheat are compact and have an elongated shape with sharp points.
The grains of wheat are variable in color, from white to light brown, and have an elongated and tapered shape.
Triticum aethiopicum is known for its resistance to harsh environmental conditions, such as drought and poor soil. It is an adaptable crop and can survive in regions with limited resources. This trait makes it important for food security in many parts of East Africa where environmental conditions can be unfavorable for other crops.
Despite its value as a hardy crop and a source of livelihoods for local people, this wheat is relatively little known internationally and is grown in limited quantities outside East Africa. However, its importance is growing due to its potential for sustainable agriculture and crop diversification.
The cultivation in these areas often makes use of more traditional techniques with preparation and tillage of the soil above all to allow the germination and maturation of the plant in areas with particular drought
The seeds are placed at a depth of about 2-3 cm in the ground and, in some cases, weed control is carried out by manual removal or mechanical methods or the use of control tools.
Fertilization of the crop is frequently ensured by rotation with legumes to ensure a sufficient supply of nitrogen and nutrients to this wheat species.
Harvesting is frequently carried out by hand mowing and in some cases also with combine harvesters.
Customs and Traditions –
Triticum aethiopicum is a wheat species native to Ethiopia also known as Ethiopian wheat or Kafir wheat.
The history of Triticum aethiopicum is rooted in East Africa, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. This wheat species is believed to be one of the earliest types of wheat grown in the area, along with other wild wheat species that have subsequently been domesticated.
The first archaeological evidence of the use of Triticum aethiopicum dates back to about 5,000 years ago. Remnants of Ethiopian wheat have been discovered at archaeological sites in Ethiopia, such as at Gogo Falls, suggesting ancient and stable cultivation. Ethiopian wheat is thought to have been an important food source for local people, contributing to their survival and culture.
Triticum aethiopicum has a remarkable resistance to difficult environmental conditions, such as drought and poor soils, and is adapted to high altitudes. These characteristics have made it an essential food for local populations, who have learned to grow it and use it to produce flour and other derivative products.
Studies suggest that Triticum aethiopicum may have diverged from Ethiopian spelt as a result of hybridization with other wheat species, while later evolution of these species occurred independently. Evidence of the participation of Ethiopian wheat in the formation of the gene pool of the only Moroccan group of T. dicoccum was obtained.
In recent decades, Triticum aethiopicum has been an object of interest to the scientific community and farmers. Its unique genetic heritage is considered invaluable for the improvement of modern wheat crops, as it can contribute to the creation of varieties that are more resistant and adaptable to climate change and disease.
Nutritionally, Ethiopian wheat is a source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and B vitamins.
Method of Preparation –
Triticum aethiopicum is a wheat which in the history of some African peoples has held great importance for food, especially in an area where the conditions of drought and temperature become prohibitive for other cereals.
It is mainly used for making flour, which can be used to prepare various food products, such as bread, pasta and biscuits.
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Attention: The pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not in any way represent a medical prescription; we therefore decline all responsibility for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.