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Triticale in a field

Triticale in a field

Order : Sweet grass (Poales)
Family : Sweet grasses (Poaceae)
Subfamily : Pooideae
Genre : Triticale
Scientific name
Tscherm.-Seys. ex Müntzing
Grains of wheat (left), rye (middle) and triticale (right)
Ears of triticale

Triticale (der or die, also: × Triticosecale or Triticosecale Wittmack ) is a cereal . It is a cross of wheat ( Triticum aestivum L.) as a female and rye ( Secale cereale L.) as a male partner. The name is composed of TRITIcum and seCALE , each neuter. The reverse junction gives Secalotricum . The taste and ingredients of triticale are between those of wheat and rye. Its awns are approx. 3–5 cm long and square.


When crossing, a hybrid is created . The offspring of the crosses are extremely sterile. Therefore, the chromosome sets have to be artificially doubled by treating the seedlings with colchicine , the alkaloid of the autumn crocus , in order to obtain fertile plants (so-called “primary” triticale). Nowadays, approved varieties on the market always go back to crossings of triticale x triticale (so-called "secondary" triticale).

Triticale was bred to combine the unpretentiousness of rye with the quality of wheat. The first fertile triticale were found in the 19th century. A successful pollination of wheat with rye pollen by the Scottish botanist A. Stephen Wilson was first reported in 1875. In 1883, the American plant breeder Elbert S. Carman was able to produce a true hybrid plant from the cross between wheat and rye. The German plant breeder Wilhelm Rimpau also succeeded in a fertile cross in 1888. He produced an F1 hybrid which had 12 fertile offspring. This variety is still maintained in the genebank in Gatersleben as Triticale Rimpau with the accession number TCA 26. Triticale was given the scientific name "Triticosecale rimpaui" by Ludewig Wittmack in 1899. From 1935 onwards, the name Triticale (x Triticosecale Wittmack), which is still in use today, became. Targeted breeding was only possible after the discovery of colchicine in the 1930s, e.g. B. in Sweden , Scotland and the USSR . The first widely distributed Triticale varieties were bred in Poland.

Wheat has the advantages of good baking quality, high yields and short straw, while rye has the advantages of low demands on the climate and soil quality.

One can distinguish between summer triticale (which does not require hibernation and is therefore sown in spring) and winter triticale (which is sown in autumn). Summer triticale is almost insignificant in Europe and is grown more in the tropics and subtropics.

The first triticale hybrids have been in the official variety tests since 2009. The first hybrid triticale variety is about to be launched in France.

Cultivation (in Germany)

Triticale can be grown on all soils within Germany. However, in good locations the wheat is superior in yield and in nutrient-poor sandy soils rye brings higher yields. The cultivation is concentrated in climatically less favorable locations, for example in the low mountain ranges . The sowing takes place from the beginning of September to the end of October with 120–140 kg per hectare (around 300 grains per with an average thousand grain weight of 45 g ). Even very late sowing is possible due to the good winter hardiness of triticale. In addition, late sowing helps to prevent heavy fertilization and significantly reduces weed pressure . When triticale began to be grown in agriculture, the species was not very susceptible to fungal diseases and the advisory service recommended it as an extensively cultivated species with little or no treatment against its pathogen. With the increased cultivation since the 1980s, this advantage has been put into perspective and since the 2010s at the latest, the official advice has recommended a similarly high use of fungicides as in rye or even wheat cultivation. An example of a fungal disease is ergot , which has a high toxicity and should therefore be given special attention. The use of growth regulators is one of the standard applications in conventional agriculture. When fully ripe, the optimal time of harvest is usually between the rye and wheat harvest, depending on the variety. Yields of up to 120 dt per hectare are possible under optimal conditions  . Under less favorable conditions in typical growing locations, the yields are up to 25% higher than the wheat yields.

Economical meaning

In Germany, the area under cultivation was around 389,100 ha in 2017. The average yield in the same year was around 59.6  dt / ha . Around 2,317,000 tons of triticale were harvested in Germany. According to the FAO, 15.6 million t of triticale were harvested worldwide in 2017 .

Largest triticale producers (2017)
rank country Quantity
(in t )
1 PolandPoland Poland 5,312,061
2 GermanyGermany Germany 2,317,000
3 BelarusBelarus Belarus 1,607,045
4th FranceFrance France 1,586,970
5 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 986.382
6th RussiaRussia Russia 500,659
7th HungaryHungary Hungary 365.026
8th SpainSpain Spain 355.840
9 RomaniaRomania Romania 331,570
10 AustriaAustria Austria 289.131
world 15,563,415


In addition to its predominant use (> 50%) as feed grain, it can also be used for human nutrition ( baked goods , beer, etc.). However, because of the sometimes unfavorable baking properties (excessive amylase activity and the associated poor gelatinization properties of the starch), bread is usually made from mixtures with wheat or rye. The individual types of triticale are suitable in different ways.

Use as an energy grain is currently relatively rare and is being researched. Triticale grain is suitable for bioethanol production; due to the high starch content of triticale, producers of bioethanol pay higher prices when buying than for rye. In addition, the Universities of Giessen and Kassel identified triticale varieties that deliver high biomass yields per area and can therefore also be used for the production of other fuels and biogas .


The appearance of triticale is very different depending on the variety. There are types that are more similar to wheat and others that are similar to rye. There are also varieties with long or short straw or oversized ears. The grain is also very different in shape, appearance and ingredients, depending on the variety.


In the science fiction television series Star Trek in one of the most popular episodes "The Trouble with Tribbles" plays ( " The Trouble with Tribbles ") a fictitious "Quadrotriticale" a greater role, the origin of which is attributed to triticale.


  • Combining ability and heterosis among eight complete spring hexaploid triticale lines . In: Barker, TC and G.Varughese (Eds.): Crop Sci . No. 32 , 1992, pp. 340-344 .
  • Hybrid triticale -prospects for research and breeding Part I: Why hybrids? In: Weissmann S., EA Weissmann (Ed.): Proc 5th Int Triticale Symp. No. 1 . Radzikov 2002, p. 187-191 .
  • Hybrid triticale -prospects for research and breeding Part II . In: Warzecha, R. (Ed.): ITC . Poznań 2002.
  • Performance comparison of line varieties and F1 hybrids in winter triticale in official tests from 1998–2000 . In: Weissmann EA, AK Werner and S.Weissmann (eds.): Lecture plant breeding . No. 49 , 2000, pp. 39-48 .
  • Wolfgang Schuchert: Triticale, distribution, yields, use . Max Planck Institute for Breeding Research, Cologne.
  • G. Röbbelen, S. Smutkupt: Reciprocal intergeneric hybridizations between wheat and rye . In: Wheat Information Service . No. 27 . Kyoto 1968, p. 10 .
  • G. Oettler: The fortune of a botanical curiosity - Triticale: past, present and future . In: The Journal of Agricultural Science . No. 143 . Cambridge 2005, pp. 329-346 .
  • B. Rodemann, H. Mielke: For the cultivation and plant protection of triticale . In: bba-Mitteilungen . No. 409 . Berlin / Braunschweig 2007, ISBN 978-3-930037-31-5 ( online ).
  • Wilfried Seibel (Hrsg.): Commodity knowledge of cereals - ingredients, analysis, cleaning, drying, storage, marketing, processing . Agrimedia, 2005, ISBN 3-86037-257-2 .

Web links

Commons : Triticale  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Triticale  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Entry in Duden , accessed on August 7, 2014
  2. Phenotypic and molecular analysis of crossbreeding progeny for resistance to ear fusariosis in triticale (x Triticosecale Wittmack). Dissertation Maren Swentje Großmann, 2010.
  3. Cultivation information on Triticale Chamber of Agriculture North Rhine-Westphalia , accessed on March 24, 2019.
  4. Inventory management and cultivation technology for triticale Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig-Holstein , accessed on March 24, 2019.
  5. ^ Crops> Triticale. In: FAO production statistics 2019., accessed on January 21, 2019 .
  6. Bioethanol manufacturers want to use triticale. In: Agrarzeitung Online . July 5, 2007, accessed June 22, 2017 .
  7. "Biomass for SunFuel®" - Hessian research results presented at the Hanover Fair. ( Memento of the original from April 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Press release of the Hessian Ministry for the Environment, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection from April 24, 2008. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. "Quadrotriticale" in Memory Alpha