BBA wheat portal

April Bearded

origin:United Kingdom   first record:1863   habit:Spring   grain colour:red/brown  references >>>  ID images >>>

April Bearded

April Bearded is one of the few wheats for Spring and in particular late Spring sowing in the British Isles tradition. It is also one of the few wheats to continue in common cultivation from the mid 19th C up until a bit before the advent of modern dwarfed wheat in the 1970s almost certainly because of its fairly unique ability to ripen from a late sowing. Listed as a good baking wheat by Peachey in "Cereal Varieties in Great Britain", 1951. There are Welsh and English versions, the English version being slightly stronger plant.

April Bearded varies greatly in yield, grains per ear, strength of straw and height of plant according to the date of sowing and fertility of soil. It generally provides a good baking functionality compared to other British and Irish "heritage" wheats. Is is now making a good recovery back into cultivation and use for milling/baking.

Reference #1

Bath and West and Southern Counties Society, Journal, Volume 11 by Bath and West and Southern Counties Society, 1863 LINK
"4. Bearded or April Red is a very good wheat; for in the case of wheat as well as of other precarious plants, a beard is sometimes found to be a very good thing; in this instance, by admitting the access of air into the sheaf when cut, it tends to allow the grain to harden and the chaff to dry. April Bearded Red may be sown any time in April, and on light soils in favourable seasons it will produce a profitable crop; its straw, of medium length and stiffness, does not readily lodge. Its long, thin shaped, transparent grain weighs from 61 to 64 lbs. per bushel. On the subject of the beard, Mr. Patrick Sheriff, the great East Lothian improver of wheat, thus expresses himself:—

"In common with many modern agriculturists, I at one time entertained a dislike to bearded wheats, believing that such varieties produced inferior grains; but after my experience of 1857, and tho following year, when a red as well as a white bearded wheat respectively yielded the finest grains in tho collection which I had grown under a parity of circumstances, the error regarding this appendage became obvious. The beard or awn of wheat is unlike that of barley, being attached to the outor palere, or chaff, and not to the skin of the grain. The beard also projects from the ear at an angle varying from 40 to 50 degrees, and its strength and elasticity, which are both considerable, are neither, much impaired by wind or moisture. When the crop is driven to and fro by the violence of the wind, the spring of the beard lessens the shocks of the ears, and prevents the corns at the apex being shed, which is so common with beardless varieties. The elasticity of the beard also tends to promote a circulation of air in the bound sheaf, thereby retarding the sprouting of the grains in wet seasons, and, hastening the hardening of them in fine weather. Under no circumstances is the beard injurious to the wheat-plant; and in the fickle climate of Scotland it is found to be a valuable appendage.""

Reference #2

Arthur Young´s Farmer´s Calendar: by Arthur Young, 1862 LINK
"Spring wheats may be sown this month on any land adapted to them, either clover lea which has not been ploughed in time for an earlier sowing, or land which has borne a green crop — either pulled and carried away or fed on the land by sheep. The Talavera wheat is one of the best for sowing at this time — though almost any of the sorts usually sown in autumn will do very well. Later in the season the so called April wheat, a red-bearded sort, is alone fit for use as seed, and a description of it will accordingly be given next month."

Identification images

April Bearded link

Germplasm link

April Bearded NORDGEN (SWE) #NGB8218

April Bearded USDA-ARS (USA) #PI 278570

April Bearded IPK (DEU) #TRI 26094

April Bearded IPK (DEU) #TRI 6960

April Bearded CIMMYT (MEX) #CWI 13845//GID 203122

April Bearded AGG (AUS) #1805

April Bearded CGN (NLD) #CGN04207

April Bearded USDA-ARS (USA) #PI 58562

April Bearded GRU-JIC (GBR) #W0002

April Bearded VIR (RUS) #k57194

April Bearded USDA-ARS (USA) #PI 283875

April Bearded ACW (CHE) #3358

April Bearded CGN (NLD) #CGN04056

April Bearded AGG (AUS) #7346

April Bearded (Rht 1 AGG (AUS) #90732

April Bearded (Rht 1+2) AGG (AUS) #90733

April Bearded (Rht 2 AGG (AUS) #90734

April Bearded (Rht 2+3) AGG (AUS) #90735

April Bearded (Rht 3) AGG (AUS) #90736

April Bearded (Tall) AGG (AUS) #90737

April Bearded Rht (Tall) AGG (AUS) #38126

April Bearded Rht3 AGG (AUS) #38125

Aprit Boardod VIR (RUS) #k56256

Old Welsh April Bearded GRU-JIC (GBR) #W1003