Strains of seed re: Parable of the Sower
- At 07:03 PM 6/30/01 -0400, tomkirbel@... wrote:
> I have been trying to track down per plant yeilds on the net, and in theYou are right to be wondering about different strains of wheat. Bread wheat
> end, was reduced to counting grains on pictures of ears. The typical
> yeild per ear (for Emmer, Spelt, Durum Wheat, and Bread Wheat) was 18,
> though I did find one variety of Einkorn with 36 grains on one ear. (<A
> cture2.htm">Here</A> can be found a picture of ears of Emmer, Spelt,
> Durum Wheat and Bread Wheat.)
is the most "advanced" of the domesticated wheats, and differs in the
number of chromosomes from the more primitive wheats. Emmer and Einkorn are
very primitive varieties of wheat that are close to the wild ancestor of
our domestic wheats. Einkorn is native to Turkey, and although a few
samples have been found in the mountains of Lebanon, it can be ignored for
the purpose of our discussion. It has 14 chromosomes. Emmer is diploid, and
durum is triploid. Durum wheat seems to have resulted from a cross between
emmer and a 14-chromosome grain, Aegilops squarosa.
I wonder about your information-- Bread wheat should have the most grains
per ear, Emmer & Einkorn the fewest.
Emmer = Triticum dicoccum (Heb. kusemet; RSV "spelt" is dubious). Wild
emmer is native to Galilee. Emmer appears in Isa. 28:25 and Ezek. 4:9.
Durum = Triticum durum (Heb. *hitputa* ?, Aramaic *chinta*?, Gk sitos).
The main Biblical wheat was probably durum wheat (See ABD, "Flora", p.809),
and it usually had two ears per head.
"Bread" wheat = Triticum vulgare is our modern variety, of which spelt is a
Trevor, writing in the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, notes that
there are more than a dozen species of wild and domesticated wheats in
Palestine today. This means that back-crosses with wild strains would be
commonplace. According to the ABD ("Flora"), there were numerous varieties
of wheat: spring & winter wheat, hard and soft wheat, red and white wheat,
and bearded and non-bearded varieties. The authoritative source is (or used
to be) Zohary's Plants of the Bible (1982). And yet, there are only about a
dozen times that "wheat" (sitos) appears in the entire NT.
However, as Jan pointed out, I think, the version of the parable of the
sower in Mark does not identify what kind of seed was sown, and does not
even explicitly mention seed. The Matthean parallel mentions "seeds"
(pipto) in 13:4, and the Lukan parallel mentions "seed" (sporos) at 8:5.
But the harvest is the same in all three: the sower reaps "fruit" (karpos).
The significance of all this for the Parable of the Sower is that the seed
that was sown was probably not, as today, a relatively pure strain, so that
if "wheat" was sown, one could expect variations in the number of ears per
head and in the number of grains per ear, as well as variability in the
kind of soil that each variety of wheat could grow in. But we can't even
tell what was sown, and the "fruit" that was harvested seems rather
non-specific. Obviously, the teller of these tales was not interested in
>Also, I have found at this site (<AFor durum wheat, 2.
>INKORNAgronomy"> Alternative Wheat Cereals as Food Grains:
>Einkorn, Emmer, Spelt, Kamut, and Triticale</A>) a history of culltivation
>of various types of wheat in ancient times, together with typical per
>Hectare yields using modern cultivation techniques. Unfortunatly, it does
>not detail the variety most likely to have been used in first century
>So, does anyone no the typical number of ears per plant?
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- William said:
>>I don't follow what is meant by a 2-5x return on planting grainseeds.<<
In ancient times, and even recently in regions where subsistence
(i.e., relatively unmechanized) farming is common, the yield is not
represented as volume of grain but by the volume of grain returned
divided by the volume of grain sown. If you sow a bushel of wheat
(using modern US measure), you expect (maybe pray for) 5 bushels
reaped. The yield seems to have varied between 4x and 6x, according to
the Turkish study (circa 1950, and using relatively primitive farming
techniques resembling that of 1st century Palestine) mentioned in an
Cleveland, Ohio, USA