Wheat Growth Stages

Seedling (Stage 1)

Stage 1: The first leaf emerges through the coleoptile. Other leaves follow in succession from within the sheath of the previously emerging leaf.

Tillering (Stages 2 – 5)

Stages 2 to 3: Tillers (shoots) emerge on opposite sides of the plant from buds in the axils of the first and second leaves. This process is repeated until a plant has several shoots.

 

Stages 4 to 5: The leaf sheaths lengthen, giving the appearance of a stem. The true stems in both the main shoot and the tillers are short and concealed within the leaf sheaths.

Jointing (Stages 6 – 8)

Stage 6: The stems and leaf sheaths begin to elongate rapidly and the first node (joint) of the stem is visible at the base of the shoot.

 

Stage 7: The second node (joint) of the stem is visible. The next-to-last leaf is emerging from within the sheath of the previous leaf but is barely visible.

 

Stage 8: The last leaf, the “flag leaf,” is visible but still rolled.

Boot (Stages 9 – 10)

Stage 9 (Preboot Stage): The ligule of the flag leaf is visible. The head begins to enlarge within the sheath.

 

Stage 10 (Boot Stage): The sheath of the flag leaf is completely emerged and distended due to the enlarging, but not yet visible, head.

Heading (Stages 10.1 – 10.5)

Stages 10.1 to 10.5: Heads of the main stem usually emerge first followed in turn by heads of the tillers in order of their development. Heading continues until all heads are out of their sheaths. The uppermost internode continues to lengthen until the head is raised several inches above the uppermost leaf sheath.

 

Stages 10.5.1 to 10.5.3: Flowering progresses in order of head emergence. Unpollinated flowers result in no kernels.

 

Stage 10.5.4 (Premilk Stage): Flowering is complete. The inner fluid is abundant and clear in the developing kernels of the flowers pollinated first.

Ripening (Stage 11)

Stage 11.1 (Milk Stage): Kernal fluid is milky white from the accumulating starch.

 

Stage 11.2 (Dough Stage): Kernel contents are soft and dry (doughy) as starch accumulation continues. The plant leaves and stems are yellow.

 

Stage 11.3: The kernel is hard, difficult to divide with the thumbnail.

 

Stage 11.4: The kernel is ripe for cutting. It fragments when crushed. The plant is dry and brittle.