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The interesting tale behind these green waves of grain

How a botanist's discovery about this crop made him famous worldwide.


May 11, 2016 | Latest Photo Prev Next
wheatwheatPhoto: Suprun Vitaly / Shutterstock
May 11, 2016 | Latest Photo

There's something so lovely about these highly detailed stalks of wheat, and the fuzzy background makes them look even more charming. These are no amber waves of American grain; they're green waves of Israeli grain, growing in the countryside. Israel grows a variety of grains, including wheat and corn, on hundreds of acres of fertile land.

Wheat has probably been growing in the area for quite some time. Botanist Aaron Aaronsohn discovered the ancestor of wild wheat, a plant called wild emmer, in northern Israel in 1906. Wild emmer was one of the first crops that people cultivated in the ancient world, and it was a huge cornerstone for civilization (and pitas).

The discovery made Aaronsohn famous throughout the world and, with the help of some Americans, allowed him to build a research station near Haifa, Israel, where he gathered a large collection of botanical and geological samples.

Later, DNA analysis confirmed that the wild emmer Aaronsohn found was indeed the plant that humans cultivated over thousands of years, turning it into the wheat we know today.

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Related Topics: Food News, Healthy eating