Shands, H. L. DeKalb Soft Wheat Research Center, DeKalb AgRes, Inc., West Lafayette, Indiana.
Arny, Deane C. Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
Uebersax, Mark A. Department of Food Sciences and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Last reviewed:August 2020
- Hybrid rye
- Cultural practices
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A winter-hardy and drought-resistant cereal plant, Secale cereale, belonging to the grass family [Poaceae (Gramineae)], that is cultivated for its grain. Rye (Fig. 1) resembles wheat, with which it intercrosses to a limited extent. Rye is propagated almost completely by cross-pollination; it is partly sterile if a plant is made to self-pollinate. The inflorescence is a spike or ear. Spikelets are arranged flatwise against a zigzag rachis (main axis); they usually have two flowers, enclosed by a lemma and palea with two adjacent glumes. The young florets contain three stamens and a pistil. The fertilized pistil develops into a naked grain, or kernel (seed) [Fig. 2], that is easily threshed. There are several recognized species of Secale; most of them have shattering spikes and small kernels. There are both perennial and winter-annual species of rye, with winter forms being favored over spring types for production. The only commercially cultivated species is the nonshattering S. cereale. Ergot sclerotia (ergot bodies) often are evident in the field and in threshed grain. See also: Cereal; Cyperales; Grain crops; Grass crops; Poales; Pollination; Wheat
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