Language selection

Search

Specific Work Instructions: Pedigreed Cereal Seed Crop Inspection Procedures

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

Looking for related documents?
Search for related documents in the Guidance Document Repository

SWI 142.1.2-2

On this page

Date

This version of Seed Program Specific Work Instruction (SWI) 142.1.2-2 Pedigreed Cereal Seed Crop Inspection Procedures was issued April 27, 2020.

Contact

The contact for this Seed Program Specific Work Instruction (SWI) is the National Manager, Seed Section. Comments regarding the content of this document should be addressed to the National Manager at cfia.seed-semence.acia@canada.ca.

Review

This Seed Program SWI is subject to periodic review. Amendments will be issued to ensure the SWI continues to meet current needs.

Endorsement

This Seed Program SWI is hereby approved.

space
Director, Plant Production Division

space
Date

Distribution

This document will be maintained on the CFIA website. The National Manager, Seed Section will maintain the signed original. A copy of the latest version is available upon request to cfia.seed-semence.acia@canada.ca.

0.0 Introduction

The purpose of pedigreed seed crop inspection is to provide an unbiased inspection and complete a Report of Seed Crop Inspection for submission to the Canadian Seed Growers' Association (CSGA) on the isolation, condition, and purity of the seed crop. It is the inspector's responsibility to describe the seed crop and its surroundings as observed at the time of inspection.

1.0 Scope

This Seed Program SWI outlines the procedures that a seed crop inspector will follow when inspecting pedigreed status seed crops of barley, oats, triticale, wheat, hybrid wheat, rye and hybrid rye. These seed crop inspection procedures provide the CSGA with confidence that production has been measured against the requirements for seed crop varietal purity and seed crop production standards as specified by the CSGA's Canadian Regulations and Procedures for Pedigreed Seed Crop Production (Circular 6).

2.0 References

The publications referred to in the development of this SWI are those identified in Seed Program Regulatory Authority (SPRA) 101 – Definitions, Acronyms, and References for the Seed Program.

In addition the following were used:

3.0 Definitions

For the purposes of this SWI, the definitions given in SPRA 101, in the CSGA's Circular 6 and the following apply:

Aleurone
granular protein in the outermost layer of the endosperm of many seeds or cereal grains; colour variation of the aleurone layer is used to distinguish barley varieties
A-line
male sterile line; line or population which is male sterile; female plants which don't produce pollen; the female line from which the progeny seed is harvested
Anthesis
the flowering stage when the anthers burst, pollen is shed and the stigma is ready to receive the dispersed pollen
Anthocyanin
plant pigment ranging from red to violet to blue
Awns
conspicuous prolongations of the glumes or lemmas
B-line
male fertile line or population capable of maintaining male sterility in the progeny of the A-line; line or population which, when crossed with male sterile plants (A line), maintains male sterility; male line which produces viable pollen
Chaff
fragments of straw including the glume and hull removed from cereal grains in threshing or processing
Cytoplasmic male sterility
the inability of a plant to produce viable pollen occurring as a result of maternally transmitted cytoplasmic factors.
Fatuoid
a common mutant found in oat crops; may be called a 'false wild oat'; usually has heavier protruding black awns distinguishable at maturity
Floret
the stamens, pistils and lodiculae enclosed by the lemma and palea
Giant oats
a common mutant found in oat crops; may be called a vegetative or monster oat; these mutants are much larger than normal oat plants with a very wide leaf; the plants are usually greener and much later than the rest of the plants; they may or may not produce panicles, and if they do produce panicles, they often don't produce seed before harvest.
Glabrous
having no projections or pubescence
Glume
two bracts found at the base of a grass or cereal spikelet
Half-awned wheat
wheat heads with full length awns which occur at the tip down to the half-way point of the spike
Hull
the outer covering of a seed made up of the lemma and palea which may be removed freely as in wheat, or adhere as in hulled barley
Hulless
a seed which has no outer covering or has an outer covering which is easily removed
Hybrid
the first generation progeny of a cross between two different plants of the same species often resulting in a plant that is more vigorous and productive than either parent
Inflorescence
the head of cereal crops consisting of flowers grouped on the rachis, the central axis
Lemma
the lower or dorsal bract of the spikelet enclosing the seed; in wheat, it is readily removed with threshing, but may adhere in hulled barley and oats
Lodiculae
small scales at the base of the ovary in a grass flower; believed to be a rudimentary perianth
Monoecious
having male and female reproductive organs borne on a single plant
Nodes
the point on a stem from which leaves, shoots, or flowers grow
Palea
the upper bract that, with the lemma, forms two bracts that enclose the grass floret
Panicle
the inflorescence of oats consisting of a main stem with branches and sub-branches arising from a central axis
Pollination
the process by which pollen is transferred from the anther (male part of a flower) to the stigmatic surface of the pistil (female part of a flower)
Rachilla
the axis of the spikelet that bears the florets
Rachis
an extension of the stem on which the spikelets are found
Restorer line/R-line
line or population used as male parent which has the capability of restoring fertility to male sterile lines/populations when crossed onto them.
Speltoid
common mutants in wheat crops; can appear in a number of different forms, the most common and readily visible being the "tall late" which is taller and later than normal for the variety; the heads are longer and thinner with a distinct taper from base to tip; glumes are strongly keeled with a square shoulder and generally are stiff and cannot be bent away from the spikelet without breaking; speltoids tend to be self-eliminating because they are late maturing, hard to thresh, small seeded and often have low fertility
Supernumerary spikelets
spikelets arising from the nodes below and at right angles to the normal spikelets; produced in a large proportion of certain wheat and triticale varieties; vary in size and development; in varieties which produce many supernumerary spikelets, the ears look ragged or untidy because the supernumerary spikelets arise at random up the length of the ear disturbing the normal neat alternate arrangement of spikelets

3.1 Common morphological synonyms

4.0 Specific inspection procedures

Inspection of pedigreed seed crops of cereals should be conducted in accordance with SWI 142.1.1 Pedigreed Seed Crop Inspection, as well as the instructions provided in this SWI.

The following procedures apply in general to inspection of pedigreed seed crops of cereals. Specific conditions or requirements for different crop types are addressed in crop-specific sections of this document.

4.1 Inspection requirements

Each crop will require one inspection performed between the time of heading and maturity. It is recommended to inspect cereal crops after anthesis, and after the glumes and awns are mature enough to show colour when required. Oats are best inspected when the plants are still green to distinguish differences in the colour and waxiness of the plants. However, when oats are ripe, it is easier to find fatuoid oats since the top florets shell out and the empty glumes are most visible. In all cases, the inspection should not be left so late in the season that the plant parts are degraded and the characteristics cannot be easily observed.

Most cereal crops are self-pollinated and therefore usually only require small isolation distances from different varieties or non-pedigreed crops of the same crop kind. Rye, however, is a cross-pollinated crop and requires a larger isolation distance from different varieties or non-pedigreed crops of rye.

Seed crop inspectors should refer to Circular 6 for details on isolation requirements, previous land use and other requirements for inspection of specific crop kinds.

The seed crop inspector should refer to Appendices I to V for general descriptions of cereal species to assist in varietal identification.

Following the 2019 changes in variety description requirements, the wheat, durum, spelt, triticale, barley and oats descriptors and diagrams in this document have been updated to show the way varieties are described in 2019 onward. Descriptions of varieties issued before 2019 won't be updated. Inspectors are encouraged to use the newer terms listed in this document to describe off-types.

4.1.1 Crop inspection of hybrid cereal certified production

For certified production, the two parent lines about 92% male sterile (female parent) and 8% male fertile (male parent/pollen shedding parent) are usually planted in the field as a technical blend. Another production method would be to plant seed of separate R-line (male seed parent) and A-line (female seed parent) in rows or bays.

Variety descriptions for both parent lines are required for comparison during the inspection. The variety description for the resulting progeny (Certified hybrid seed) isn't used during the inspection. For Certified seed, counts are conducted in both the fertile and sterile lines like synthetic canola and varietal blend production when seeded as a technical blend. If seeded in bays or rows then formal counts are only made in the A-line as the R-line plants are usually removed before seed set and harvest for seed production.

When partial fertile A-line plants or fertile A-line plants are observed, they are reported as off-types in hybrid cereals.

Border rows are not considered part of the field. When border rows are present, the inspector should verify that the variety planted in the border row matches the variety description for the male parent. The border should also be checked for other varieties of the inspected crop kind that could cross pollinate with the inspected crop.

Certified hybrid rye inspection timing

Hybrid rye crops must be inspected when the fertile line (male parent) is going through anthesis as the sterile line (female parent) has little to no pollen shed. Pollen shedding off-types that differ from the fertile line are visible at this time.

Certified hybrid wheat inspection timing

Crops for Certified production of Cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) hybrid wheat must be inspected at least once by an authorized inspector after plants assume mature colour, to report off-types or other varieties. Variety descriptions may include more requirements.

4.1.2 Crop inspection of hybrid wheat-parent lines

A-line hybrid parent seed production

Seed of separate B-line (male seed parent) and A-line (female seed parent) are usually planted in rows or bays. Formal counts are only made in the A-line as the B-line plants are usually removed before seed set and harvest for seed production. Variety descriptions for both parent lines are required for comparison during the inspection.

Border rows are not considered part of the field. When border rows are present, the inspector should verify that the variety planted in the border row matches the variety description for the male parent. The border should also be checked for other varieties of the inspected crop kind that could cross pollinate with the inspected crop.

When partially fertile A-line plants or fertile A-line plants are observed, they are reported as off-types.

Hybrid rye A-line parent seed production timing

Plots containing male sterile (female seed parent) A-line plants shall be completed during anthesis to report pollen shedders in A-line plants.

Hybrid wheat A-line parent seed production timing

Plots containing male sterile (female seed parent) A-lines require 3 inspections. First inspection shall be completed after heading and before anthesis to report off-types and other varieties. Second and Third inspections shall be completed during anthesis, to report pollen shedders in A-line plants.

B-line and R-line hybrid parent seed production

For both hybrid rye and wheat plots of (male maintainer) B-lines or (restorer) R-lines parent require 1 inspection. Timing of inspection for hybrid wheat B-lines and R-lines shall be completed after heads assume mature colour, to report off-types and other varieties. Timing of inspection for hybrid rye B-line and R-line parents shall be done after heading, when the plants are mature enough to show varietal characteristics.

4.2 Crop inspection of plant pest tolerance management varietal blends

Pedigreed seed of pest tolerant wheat varieties is sold as a part in a varietal blend with seed of a small proportion of a susceptible variety (refuge variety) to prolong the utility of the tolerance trait. In cases where the pests do not travel very far beyond their emergence site, the refuge variety is planted interspersed with the pest tolerant variety rather than as a border or in a block.

If pest tolerant varieties are planted in monocultures, the selection pressure in the pest population for mutations to overcome the tolerance trait is increased. In most cases, 5% to 15% of the varietal blend must be made up of the susceptible variety to provide an effective refuge.

Note

Seed crop inspectors are not expected to verify the relative proportions of tolerant and susceptible varieties in the inspected crop.

Seed crop inspectors must refer to the descriptions of the variety (DoVs) for both varieties in the varietal blend. When encountering plants that do not conform to the DoV, seed crop inspectors must determine whether the deviant plant is a plant of the interspersed susceptible variety, a described variant of either the tolerant or susceptible variety or an off-type. The seed crop inspector must provide as much detail as possible on how the deviant plants differ from the norm of the variety(s). An official seed tag or a picture of the tag must be attached to the Report of Seed Crop Inspection.

4.3 Completing the report of seed crop inspection

In addition to the general instructions provided in SWI 142.1.1 Pedigreed Seed Crop Inspection, the following are key factors in completing the Report of Seed Crop Inspection for specific cereal crops:

All cereals

Crop inspectors do not need to report tall off-types or variants that are shorter than the definition listed in Appendix I and otherwise conform to the norm.

Barley

If smut is observed in a barley crop, it is to be documented in the Report of Seed Crop Inspection in the "Disease" field of the "Condition of Crop" section. The location of the disease in the field and the approximate area (percentage) of the crop that is infected must also be described in the "Comments" section of the Report of seed crop inspection.

Oats

When fatuoids (false wild oats) or giant oats are observed in a crop of oats, they are to be included in counts as off-types. Wild oats are reported by frequency.

Rye

As rye is an open-pollinated crop, particular attention must be paid during inspection to the neighboring crop. This requires stating the variety of, the distance to, and the pedigreed status (if any) of other crops of the same kind adjacent to the crop. If a portion of the inspected crop is removed in lieu of an isolation the inspector must state the distance that has been removed. When inspecting hybrid rye, other varieties found in the border rows should be reported in the open-pollinated isolation section of the report. Difficult to separate crops only need to be reported within 3 metres of the edge of the inspected crop.

Wheat

When speltoids or half-awned wheat are observed, they are to be reported as off-types. When partial fertile male sterile (A-line) plants or fertile male sterile (A-line) plants are observed, they are reported as off-types in hybrid wheat for certified and male sterile (A-line) parent plot production. Hybrid wheat and A-line parents have large isolation distances to other varieties of wheat. On the Report of Seed Crop Inspection, the inspector must complete the section on open pollinated crops. When inspecting hybrid wheat, other varieties found in the border rows should be reported in the open-pollinated isolation section of the report. Difficult to separate crops only need to be reported within 3 meters of the edge of the inspected crop.

4.4 Previous land use

When speltoids or half-awned wheat are observed, they are to be reported as off-types. When partial fertile male sterile (A-line) plants or fertile male sterile (A-line) plants are observed, they are reported as off-types in hybrid wheat for certified and male sterile (A-line) parent plot production. Hybrid wheat and A-line parents have large isolation distances to other varieties of wheat. On the Report of Seed Crop Inspection, the inspector must complete the section on open pollinated crops. When inspecting hybrid wheat, other varieties found in the border rows should be reported in the open-pollinated isolation section of the report. Difficult to separate crops only need to be reported within 3 meters of the edge of the inspected crop.

Appendices

Appendix I: Descriptions of cereal species

The following section outlines the characteristics displayed at the time of inspection for cereal species commonly grown for pedigreed status seed.

The seed crop is inspected for varietal purity and varietal identity based on a comparison with the descriptions of specific morphological characteristics provided in the DoV for the variety.

The following table lists common visual morphological characteristics of multiple cereal species that are useful in inspecting pedigreed status seed crops of cereals. Other characteristics which are unique to a single cereal species are outlined in Appendices II to V.

Table 1. Cereal crop specific visual morphological characteristics and descriptions
Species Characteristic Characteristic description
Wheat, Durum, Spelt, Triticale Straw pith Cut the straw cleanly at a mid-point between the ear and the upper stem node. The thickness of the wall of the stem depends on the amount of soft tissue beneath the hard epidermis and is classified as either thin, medium, and thick or filled. This characteristic must not be regarded as definitive as variations occur as a result of different environmental and climatic conditions. In sawfly resistant varieties, the pith is always thick or filled as a defence mechanism against the sawfly. (See Appendix II)
Wheat, Durum, Spelt, Barley, Triticale, Rye Spike attitude (at maturity) Spike attitude descriptions include: erect, semi-erect, inclined, horizontal, semi-nodding, nodding.
Wheat, Durum, Spelt, Barley, Triticale, Rye Spike shape The spike shape is often determined by the density of the grains. A very dense grain arrangement on a short spike usually results in a clavate shaped spike.
Wheat, Durum, Spelt, Rye, Triticale Spike density Spike density is determined by the relative length of the rachis segments, and ranging from lax to dense. Varieties with visible spaces between grains when viewed from the side as a result of long rachis segments within the spike are described as lax. (See Appendix II)
Oats, Barley Hulledness Varieties of hulless oats and barley are essentially 'naked' and the seeds are released easily from the lemma and palea. Varieties of hulled oats and barley have lemma and palea which adhere tightly to the seed.
Wheat, Durum, Spelt, Barley, Triticale Lower glume pubescence Glumes of certain uncommon varieties are covered with a mat of fine hairs which resemble felt or fine fur. Glume pubescence is a very distinct character that is classified as absent or present.
Wheat, Durum, Spelt, Barley, Triticale Awn length The actual length of the awns as they extend beyond the spike can vary from extending longer than the length of the spike itself to extending less than the length of the spike. A plant is considered awned when the awn length is at least 30 mm.
Wheat, Durum, Spelt, Triticale Awnlet length The length of an awnlet is between 5 mm and 30 mm. If less than 5 mm, the spike is considered awnless and over 30 mm the spike is considered awned.
Wheat, Durum, Spelt, Barley, Triticale, Oat Glaucosity Many varieties have a coating of wax on leaves, stems and other surfaces. Non-waxy or non-glaucous surfaces actually have a glossy appearance whereas 'waxy' surfaces have a thin deposit of dull waxy powder which is white, pale-grey or light blue in colour. Flag leaves and spikes without a waxy surface appear 'yellow-green' instead of 'blue-green'. The best places to find a waxy surface are the base of the ventral sides of the lemma, the lower part of the palea, or the stem. The location of wax may be influenced by the environment.
Wheat, Durum, Spelt, Barley, Triticale, Oat Plant height (tall off-types or variants)

If the plant is significantly taller than the crop in the immediate area and the plant population is uniform, height can be a characteristic for describing varietal purity. As a guideline for assessing 'talls' all the spikes on the plant should be:

  • wheat, 2 to 3 spikes taller
  • barley, 1 to 2 spikes taller
  • triticale, at least 3 spikes taller
  • oats, 1 panicle taller
Wheat, Spelt, Durum, Triticale, Spelt Glume internal imprint These clearly marked areas are caused by the pressure of the external surface of the lemma. This area can be seen as dark shadowy areas between the veins or nerves which run from the base of the glume to the beak and shoulder margins and are classified as absent, small, medium or large.

Appendix II: Wheat, durum, spelt and triticale description and diagrams

Wheat, durum and spelt description

Wheat is a monoecious plant with perfect flowers (both male and female reproductive parts in the same flower). It reproduces sexually as a self-pollinated crop. Cross pollination occurs at usually less than 3%, however may be as high as 10% in some varieties and/or environments. The inflorescence of wheat is a determinate composite spike. Spikelets are alternately arranged on the rachis. Each spikelet has 2 bract-like empty glumes that enclose 2 to 9 florets. The outer parts of each floret consist of a lemma and a palea.

There are 3 types of wheat: spring wheat, winter wheat and durum wheat. Winter wheat is the same species as spring wheat (Triticum aestivum) and shares the same identification characters. Winter wheat differs from spring wheat in that it has a winter habit, requiring vernalization, wherein the exposure to cool temperatures and short day initiates reproduction. Winter wheat is planted in the late summer, overwintering as an herbaceous plant, and then flowers and sets seed the following summer, earlier than spring planted varieties of spring wheat.

Durum wheat (Triticum turgidum spp. durum) is a separate species from spring and winter wheats. The spike and neck of durum wheat are more compact than those of common wheat and appear squarish in cross section. Durum wheat is always awned. Different varieties of durum can sometimes be distinguished by their awn colour (black or white) which is expressed as the plants near maturity. The awn colour may be affected by frost (bleaches out the colour) or other environmental influences.

The seed crop inspector, inspecting seed crops of cereal species should be familiar with einkorn, emmer and spelt species which are precursors to modern cereals. Einkorn along with emmer and spelt are often referred to as 'the covered wheats', since the kernels do not thresh free of the lemma, palea, and glume upon harvesting. Small quantities of these crop kinds are certified in Canada, therefore there is the potential that they may be present as impurities during crop inspection.

Care should be taken when a wheat plant with a bleached white spike is discovered as this may not be an off-type. Bleached white spikes are most commonly caused by Fusarium, but may also be caused by diseases such as take-all, eyespot, or cephalosporium stripe, by insects such as sawfly, or stem maggots, by environmental conditions or herbicide exposure. For more information, see CropPest Ontario, volume 16, issue 6 (June 17th, 2011).

Triticale description

Triticale (Triticosecale) is a cross between wheat and rye. Morphologically it resembles its wheat parent, but exhibits the more vigorous growth characteristics of rye. Triticale has either a spring or winter growth habit, has variable plant height and tends to tiller less than wheat.

The inflorescence of triticale is a spike resembling that of wheat more than rye, and is often considerably larger than that of wheat or rye. As with both parents, the spike of triticale is composed of a series of some 30 to 40 spikelets arranged alternately on each side of the rachis. Each spikelet consists of 4 to eight florets, of which usually only 3 are fertile. Each spikelet is surrounded by 2 glumes of chaff, and the lemma and palea enclose each floret in the spikelet. The lemmas generally taper into a 7 to 10 cm long awn. The awn length vary between varieties.Due to its free-threshing property, the lemma and palea do not adhere to the kernel during threshing.

It is a self-pollinating species with the pollen being released within the floret. The period of anthesis in triticale varies among varieties but generally is longer than in wheat and thus triticale is more susceptible to out-crossing. Anthesis normally begins in the central portion of the spike when the spike has completely emerged from the leaf sheath. Triticale varieties are often 1 or 2 weeks later maturing than wheat.

List of traits to consider when inspecting wheat, spelt and triticale varieties

Wheat, durum, spelt and triticale diagrams

Straw pith thickness (in cross section of the straw at middle of internode below the neck)
Cross sections of various straw pith thickness. Description follows.
Description of diagram of straw pith thickness

This diagram shows the different straw pith thicknesses (in cross section at middle of internode below the neck) – thin, medium and thick or filled (filled, or nearly filled with pith).

Spike density
Spikes with various density. Description follows.
Description of diagram of spike density

This diagram shows 3 types of spike density – lax, medium, and dense.

Spike awnedness – Table 2. Spike awnedness descriptors
Spike awnedness descriptors - wheat spikes. Description follows.
Description of table spike awnedness

The table shows 4 types of wheat spike awnedness and the descriptors used before and after 2019. Before 2019, the descriptors were awnless, apically awnletted, awnletted and awned. Since 2019, the descriptors are: awns and awnlets absent, awnlets present and awns present.

Location of awns and awnlets
Location of awns and awnlets - wheat spikes. Description follows.
Description of photos of location of awns and awnlets

The photos show 6 wheat spikes. The first 2 have awnlets located only at the tip of the spike, the 2 spikes in the middle have anwlets located on the upper half of the spike and the last 2 spikes have awns located on the full length of the spike.

Example of half awned wheat spike
Half awned wheat spike. Description follows.
Description of photo of half awned wheat spike

The photo shows a wheat spike with awns located on the upper half of the spike.

Spike shape
Source: UPOV, 2017. Wheat guidelines for the conduct of tests for the distinctness, uniformity and stability. TG/3/12 Geneva.
Shapes of spikes. Description follows.
Description of diagram of spike shape

This diagram shows 5 wheat spike shapes – tapering, parallel sided, semi-clavate, clavate, and fusiform.

Lower glume beak shape and length

Variations will be encountered within a variety and also over the length of the spike. Lower glume beak shape used to refer to the length and the shape of the apex of the lower glume beak. Starting in 2019, breeders describe the lower glume beak in 2 steps: the shape and the length. Therefore the pre-2019 descriptors for lower glume beak shape: obtuse, acute and acuminate now refer to the terms for lower glume beak length: short, medium and long. The angle at which the lower glume beak is bent is also described as straight, slightly curved, moderately curved, strongly curved and geniculate (bent at a sharp angle).

Lower glume beak shape
Source: UPOV, 2017. Wheat guidelines for the conduct of tests for the distinctness, uniformity and stability. TG/3/12 Geneva.
Lower glume beak shape - lower glumes. Description follows.
Description of diagram of lower glume beak shape

This diagram shows 5 different glume beak shapes: straight, slightly curved, moderately curved, strongly curved and geniculate (bent at a sharp angle).

Table 3. Lower glume beak length
Source: UPOV, 2017. Wheat guidelines for the conduct of tests for the distinctness, uniformity and stability. TG/3/12 Geneva.
Lower glume beak length - lower glumes. Description follows.
Description of table of wheat lower glume beak length

This table shows 5 different glume beak shapes: very short, short, medium, long and very long as well as the descriptors used before 2019: obtuse, acute and acuminate.

Table 4. Lower glume shoulder shape
Source: UPOV, 2017. Wheat guidelines for the conduct of tests for the distinctness, uniformity and stability. TG/3/12 Geneva.
Lower glume shoulder shape - lower glumes. Description follows.
Description of table of wheat glume shoulder shape

This table shows 5 types of lower glume shoulder shape: strongly sloping, slightly sloping, horizontal, slightly elevated and strongly elevated as well as the descriptors used before 2019: wanting, oblique, square, elevated and apiculate.

Lower glume shoulder width
Source: UPOV, 2017. Wheat guidelines for the conduct of tests for the distinctness, uniformity and stability. TG/3/12 Geneva.
Upper part of lower glumes. Description follows.
Description of diagram of wheat lower glume shoulder width

This diagram shows 5 types of glume shoulder width: absent or very narrow, narrow, medium, broad and very broad.

Spike and spikelet of einkorn, emmer and spelt
Source: UPOV, 2017. Wheat guidelines for the conduct of tests for the distinctness, uniformity and stability. TG/3/12 Geneva.
Photo of spikelets and photo of spikes. Description follows.
Description of photos of the spike and spikelet of einkorn, emmer and spelt

2 photographs are presented; the first a photo of the spikes of einkorn, emmer and spelt; the second a photo of the spikelets of einkorn, emmer and spelt.

Table 5. Comparison of pre and post-2019 of awnedness descriptors
Pre-2019 spike awnedness descriptors Post-2019 spike awnedness descriptorsTable Note 1 – Awnedness Post-2019 spike awnedness descriptorsTable Note 1 – Location of awns Post-2019 spike awnedness descriptorsTable Note 1 – Awns or awnlets length
Awnless awns and awnlets absent N/A N/A
Awnletted awnlets present Full length of the spike short, medium or long
N/A awnlets present At the upper half of the spike short, medium or long
Apically awnletted awnlets present at the tip of the spike short, medium or long
Apically awned or tip awned awns present at the tip of the spike short, medium or long
Half-awned awns present At the upper half of the spike Short, medium or long
Awned awns present Full length of the spike Short, medium or long

Table Note

Table Note 1

The length of an awnlet is between 5 mm and 30 mm. If less than 5 mm, the spike is considered awnless and over 30 mm the spike is considered awned.

Return to table note 1  referrer

Appendix III: Barley descriptions and diagrams

There are 2 main types of cultivated barley: 2-row and 6-row. Each type has 3 spikelets at each rachis node (1 central and 2 laterals), and each spikelet contains one floret. Groups of spikelets are arranged in an alternate and opposite fashion on the rachis. The lateral spikelets of 2-rowed barley are sterile and the central is fertile, resulting in 2 rows of kernels on the rachis. All florets of 6-rowed barley may be fertile, resulting in 6 rows of kernels when viewed in cross section or from the top of the spikelet. Cultivated barley species are naturally self-pollinating.

In addition to the main 2-row versus 6-row distinguishing factor, barley varieties also vary in that they may be winter or spring, hulled or hulless, for forage or grain, and for malting or feed purposes. Some forage barley varieties have increased isolation requirements as specified by the variety developer. This additional requirement can be found in the "Additional Comments" section of the DoV.

Unlike wheat, the characteristics identifying barley are considered as definitive in that they do not vary over a range, resulting in greater certainty when identifying varieties. The following characteristics are to be considered for observations of varietal purity and identity during seed crop inspection.

Barley plant characteristics after heading

Many characteristics useful in distinguishing barley varieties are best observed when the seeds on the spikes are ripe. These characteristics may not be present if inspections are conducted before the seed has fully matured. For this reason, some of the following information may not be entirely useful as seed crop inspections are usually conducted after the grains begin to mature.

Kernel: In 6-row varieties, the central kernels are slightly larger and plumper than the lateral kernels, while the kernels of 2-row varieties are all uniform in shape and size. The length of hair on the rachilla can be useful in distinguishing between varieties. It ranges from short to long and sometimes there is a mix of both length. In these cases, the percentage of each will be indicated. The colour of the aleurone layer of a dehulled barley kernel may be yellow, white or a blue shade.

Lemma awns: In some varieties, especially those with dense spikes, the awns tend to spread out like a fan. In certain varieties, the lemma awns are discarded as the grain ripens. This 'dropping-off' of awns can also occur in normal varieties under certain climatic conditions such as extreme drought.

Anthocyanin: Many varieties contain this purple or red pigment in various parts of the plant in the vegetative and reproductive stages. Most pigmented varieties tend to lose this colour as the plants ripen, but some will retain the pigment in the 5 dorsal lateral nerves of the developing grain. Positive identification of non-pigmented varieties by reference to fully mature grain is impossible, but the anthocyanin pigment's presence can be detected in growing plant material. The best places to look are in the basal leaf sheath of the first leaf, the stem nodes and auricles, and especially in the tips of the lemma awns if the plant is still green.

List of traits to consider when inspecting barley varieties

Barley diagrams

Barley kernel
Ventral and dorsal side of barley kernal. Description follows.
Description of diagram of barley kernel

The diagram depicts a whole barley kernel and identifies the lemma awn, lemma, crease, palea, rachilla, marginal nerve (barbed), mid-nerve, lateral nerve and the basal marking.

Barley spike shape
Shapes of barley spikes. Description follows.
Description of diagram of barley spike shape

This diagram shows 3 different spike shape: tapering, parallel and fusiform.

Barley awn attitude
Barley spikes. Description follows.
Description of diagram of barley awn attitude

This diagram shows 3 different attitudes of the awns of barley – parallel, broad, and triangular.

Barley spike attitude
Adapted from UPOV, 2017. Barley guidelines for the conduct of tests for the distinctness, uniformity and stability. TG/3/12 Geneva
Barley spikes attitude. Description follows.
Description of the diagram of barley spike attitude

This diagram shows 5 different barley spike attitudes – erect, semi-erect, horizontal, semi-nodding, and nodding.

Barley glume awn length
Adapted from UPOV, 2017. Barley guidelines for the conduct of tests for the distinctness, uniformity and stability. TG/3/12 Geneva
Kernel and glumes. Description follows.
Description of diagram of barley glume awn length

This diagram shows 3 different lengths of the glumes of barley – shorter than the length of the glume, equal to the length of the glume and longer than the length of the glume.

Barley rachilla hair length
Source: UPOV, 2017. Barley guidelines for the conduct of tests for the distinctness, uniformity and stability. TG/3/12 Geneva
Kernel and rachillas. Description follows.
Description of the diagram of barley rachilla hair length

This diagram shows short and long hair on the rachillas.

Appendix IV: Oats description and diagrams

Oat is an annual, self-pollinating grass for which out-crossing seldom exceeds 0.5%. The stem is composed of a series of nodes and internodes with alternate leaves. The stem usually contains 4 to 7 elongated internodes and the uppermost internode is often as long as the combined length of all other internodes.

Mature stems terminate in a loose, open panicle. The main axis of the panicle terminates in a single spikelet. Alternate groups of branches arise from the main axis and each branch terminates in a single spikelet. The number of spikelets per panicle normally ranges from 25 to 45 depending on genotype and growing conditions. Each spikelet usually contains from 1 to 3 florets enclosed in empty glumes with the tip of one glume extending slightly above the other. Usually only the 2 basal florets are fertile, but on occasion 3 or more are fertile.

Each flower is perfect and has 3 stamens, 1 pistil and 2 lodicules. The flower is enclosed by 2 bracts, the lemma and palea, which are known as the hulls on the harvested oat grain. While both spring and winter types of oats exist, winter hardiness in oats is not sufficient to allow winter crops of oats to survive in Canada.

There are 2 types of oats. Avena sativa which is a covered oat species (hulled oats) and Avena nuda (hulless oats).

Oat plant characteristics after heading

The following characteristics are to be considered for observations of varietal purity and identity during seed crop inspection.

Panicle type: Varieties can be divided into 2 groups according to their panicle type. Varieties whose panicles are equilateral (symmetrical) give the general appearance of a triangle or cone. This arrangement is the most common.

Varieties whose panicles are unilateral (side panicle) appear one-sided so that all the branches tend to be on one side of the main rachis of the panicle. These varieties are sometimes referred to as "side oats". Unilateral panicles tend to lean over due to the lop-sided weight of the grains and can be easily identified when found as a contaminant in a crop of plants with equilateral panicles. Sometimes, however, this trait is not the result of a contaminant, but a border row effect whereby equilateral varieties resemble unilateral varieties along the outside of border rows due to excess water along the field's edge. Unilateral panicles may possess a thickened swelling or false node below the lowest whorl of branches.

Semi-unilateral and sub-unilateral varieties, also described as intermediate, exist in that some branches do not conform entirely to the unilateral characteristic. A few varieties change from the equilateral type to semi-unilateral as they ripen.

Rachilla characteristics: (observe at green stage shortly after heading) The rachillas on the upper region of the panicles possess certain features which can be used in the observation of varietal purity and identity.

Rachilla length of grooves: In many varieties the rachilla has 2 longitudinal depressions down each side of a central raised section. These depressions are often grooved and the extent to which they extend down the rachilla is a varietal characteristic.

Rachilla pubescence: In most varieties the rachilla is glabrous, though some varieties have short hairs, spines or barbs which are attached to the surface of the rachilla and their presence can be described from sparse to dense.

Lemma tendency to be awned: In certain varieties, most primary grains may have awns arising from the median nerve on the dorsal side of the lemma. The presence or absence of awns and the number of primary grains producing these awns can be influenced by environmental factors thus caution should be used when observing this characteristic.

List traits to consider when inspecting oat varieties

Oat diagrams

Oat panicle characteristics length
Stem and panicle of oat plant. Description follows.
Description of the diagram of the oat panicle characteristics

The diagram shows the oat panicle characteristics – flowering stem or culm, upper culm node, leaf sheath, flag leaf, whorl of branches arising from node, main stem or rachis, branch (of rachis), and oat spikelet.

Oats nodes
Source: UPOV, 2017. Oats guidelines for the conduct of tests for the distinctness, uniformity and stability. TG/3/12 Geneva
Oats nodes. Description follows.
Description of diagram of upper culm node pubescence

This diagram shows 3 different intensity of upper culm node pubescence: sparse, medium and strong.

Oat panicle shape
Source: UPOV, 2017. Oats guidelines for the conduct of tests for the distinctness, uniformity and stability. TG/3/12 Geneva
Oats panicles. Description follows.
Description of diagram of oat panicle shape

This diagram shows 2 different oat panicle shapes – equilateral (symmetrical) and unilateral (side panicle).

Panicle attitude of branch position
Source: UPOV, 2017. Oats guidelines for the conduct of tests for the distinctness, uniformity and stability. TG/3/12 Geneva
Oats panicles branches. Description follows.
Description of diagram of panicle attitude of branch position

This diagram shows 5 different positions – erect, semi-erect, horizontal, drooping, and strongly drooping.

Appendix V: Rye description and diagrams

Of all the cereals, rye most closely resembles wheat morphologically. Although the leaves are similar in shape to those of wheat, they tend to exhibit a typical bluish colour. Rye is typically taller and tillers less profusely than wheat. The fine pubescence covering the sheath of rye seedlings distinguishes them from other cereal seedlings. The plants have numerous, highly branching, deep roots.

The inflorescence is a rather lax, slender spike, 10 to 15 cm long. The spikelets at each node of the rachis usually contain 3 florets, with the 2 outer florets being fertile and the central one being sterile. As in wheat, the lemma and palea which enclose the floret are free-threshing. The lemmas which are longer than the glumes, taper gradually and often bear barbs on the keel, and awns of intermediate length. The kernels are longer and more slender than those of wheat.

Rye differs from other small grains in that the crop is largely cross-pollinated, as most rye plants are self-sterile, and characteristically some florets fail to set seed. The spike attitude varies with variety and can be erect or nodding. Rye varieties can be distinguished from one another by observing their spike form (fusiform, elliptic or oblong), the kernel size and shape, and the degree of blue or green colouration.

The open glume orientation of rye renders it highly susceptible to ergot. Rye has a tendency to ripen quickly which makes the heads more prone to shattering, and allows only a narrow window of time for inspection of seed crops of rye.

List traits to consider when inspecting rye varieties

Rye diagram

Rye plant
Rye spike. Description follows.
Description of diagram of rye plant

The picture depicts the head of a rye plant.

Diagram of rye plant parts
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Hitchcock, A.S. (rev. A. Chase).1950. Manual of the grasses of the United States. USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. 200. Washington, DC.
Rye plant parts. Description follows.
Description of diagram of rye plant parts

A rye plant showing the awns on the head and the auricles, and details of the spikelet and floret (including the lemma, palea, glumes, rachis and rachilla).

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: