Skip the navigation header

K-State Logo K-State Research and Extension logo
go to Research and Extension home page go to News go to Publications and Videos ask a question or make a comment search the Research and Extension site


Adopt A Wheat Field Home Page
April 21

phooto 64

Oops! I looked at our area this morning and realized that I forget some important stages to mention on Monday. Before I get into that, look at the red flags. The wheat is creeping up on the new flags. I think the wheat will grow above the flags again. What do you think?

Have you wondered what the yellow stuff off in the distance is? That is a winter annual crop, called canola. It belongs to the mustard family and some of its relatives are considered to be weeds in wheat. But this is a new crop for Kansas. It is used as a vegetable oil.

Let’s look at the next picture and I’ll catch up on what I forgot the other day.

photo 65

Here are the four upper most leaves on one stem. But there is one that is very important to the plant’s future. Can you guess which one I’m talking about? If you look at the upper two leaves, the smaller of the two leaves or the one on the right is the most important leaf the plant has. It is called the flag leaf. It is the last leaf this stem will produce. There are no more leaves after this one. Generally, the flag leaf will first become visible when you can see two nodes on the stem. This flag leaf has not completely emerged from the whorl (upper part of the plant where leaves are coming out), so it isn’t as big as it’s going to get. Look at the next picture.

photo 66

The flag leaf in this picture is starting to grow away or up from the leaf directly below it. Actually, the stem is elongating and that is causing the flag leaf to move away from the other leaf. Are you wondering why it is called the flag leaf? Well, it is the upper most leaf on the stem, so someone got the idea this leaf looked like a flag on a flag pole. A flag sticks way up in the air and this leaf will too. And that’s why it is called the flag leaf. This leaf will contribute about 75 percent of the nutrients that go into the wheat kernels. We are very concerned that the flag leaf stays healthy because leaf diseases can damage leaves and grain yields will be reduced.

Are you wondering where the growing point or head is now? If you look where the second leaf below the flag leaf attaches to the stem, notice it is slightly swollen. You guessed it! That’s where the head is.

Adopt A Wheat Field Kansas State University Adopt A Wheat Field
Agronomy Wheat Page