WHEAT

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WHEAT (triticum sativum). Among the different kinds of grain which form the principal nutriment of the civilized world, and to the culture of which civilization is even attributed, by ancient and modern writers, the first rank is universally conceded to wheat. It is now cultivated in almost all temperate climates, throughout the greater part of Europe, in all the provinces of China, in Natolia, Syria, Persia, and the other temperate parts of Asia, in the north of Africa, and at the cape of Good Hope, in the U. States, and even in the extreme southern parts of South America. Th& plant belongs to the family of the grasses, like the other cerealia. The spikelets of the flowers are sessile, and disposed on two opposite sides of an axis, the whole forming a terminal spike or ear, which, in one variety, is even branched. The culture of wheat, from time immemorial, and in different soils and climates, has produced numerous varieties, which, in some instances, have even been mistaken for distinct species. Winter wheat, sown in the spring, will ripen the following summer, though the produce of succeeding generations of springsown wheat is found to ripen better. White, red, awned and beardless wheat change and run into each other in different soils and climates; and even the Egyptian wheat is known to change into the singlespiked common plant. The most permanent varieties are the red and white gramed, and the spring wheat which is generally red. Wheat succeeds best when treated as a biennial, though it does not remain above one year in the ground. Provided the soil be well prepared and dry, and the grain sown in time, the plants do not suffer from the greatest cold, especially if the ground be covered with snow. Animal substances are the best manure for wheat, as containing much gluten, a substance found in a greater proportion in this grain than in any other ; and next in importance is lime, as tending to the same effect by chemical combinations. Wheat yields a greater proportion of flour than any other grain, and is also more nutritive. Gluten is so essential an ingredient in bread, that fermentation cannot go on without it; hence its inferiority in .wet seasons, and when the wheat is blighted or ill ripened ; and hence the advantage of having a stock of old grain. Wheat starch is made by steeping it, and afterwards beating it in hempen bags. The mucilage, being thus mixed with the water, produces the acetous fermentation, and the weak acid thus formed renders the mucillage white. After settling, the precipitate is repeatedly washed, and then put in square cakes for drying. The straw of wheat, from dry, chalky lands, is manufactured into hats. Leghorn hats are made from a bearded variety of wheat, not unlike rye, raised on poor, sandy soils, on the banks of the Arno, between Leghorn and Florence, expressly for this manufacture. It does not grow above eighteen inches in length, is pulled green, and bleached, like flax, on the gravelly bed of the river. The straws are not split, which renders the plait tougher and more durable. (See Straw.) We are ignorant of the country whence this valuable grain wras first derived ; but it was very early cultivated in Sicily.Spelt (T. spelta) appears to be a distinct species, and more hardy than common wheat. It has a stout straw, almost solid, with strong spikes, and chaff adhering firmly to the grain. The grain is light, yields but little flour, and makes but indifferent bread. It is>raised in Switzerland, in elevated situations, where common wheat would not ripen ; and also in Bavaria and other parts of Germany. Quantity and Destination of Wheat Flour exported from the U. States during ten Years, from 1821 to October, 1831. 1821 1822 1823 1824: 1825 1826 1827 1828 3829 1830 1831 British N. America. 131,035 89,840 29,681 39,191 30,780! 72,904 107,420 86,680 91,088; 149,966) 150,645 West Indies. South America. 551,396 1436,849! 442,468' 424,359! 429,760 433,094 362,6741 370,371 156,888 21 J,039 198,256 357,352 252,786 285,563 271,524 ┬░>08,110 281,256| 371,876] 248,2361235,591 347,290 319,616 Great Britain. France' Portugal. Wadeua of Europe. Africa. 94,541 12,096! 4,252 70,873! 27,272 18,357 53,129 23,258 1221,176 326,182 879,430; 1,175 22851 426 102! 27519 6,266 17,464 56,590 123,991 Spain & 71,958 25,104 62,387 939 730 504 4,293! 294 509! 10,222! 364 26,5721 21,375 4,752 125,85 3,597 6,119|27, 5,171 4,061 3,779 9,628 12,811 Other part: 9,074 976 2,088 47,449 55,8J 8 ,716 52,114 54,371 14,959 136,924 135,416 3123 |3929 903 3883 7623 5403 4909 1737 221 2609 12751 Asia. 10,357 !26,429 11,864 6,439 15,438 7,885 7,238 5,662 4,362 5,214 8,305 Total Barrels. 1,056,119 827,865 756,702 996,792 813,906 857,820 865,491 860,809 837,385 1,225,881 1,805,205 The value of the wheat exported in 1831 was $523,270 ; of wheat flour, $9,938,458. Imports of Foreign Wheat and Tfheat Flour into Great Britain in 1829 and 1830. Countries. 1829. 1830. Russia, .... 341,567 qrs. 235,108 qrs. Sweden, ..... 16,590 Norway, ..... 425 Denmark, . . . .83,288 Prussia, .....353,958 Germany, . . . 306,966 ┬ŽNetherlands, . 144,549 France, .... 48,939 Spain,.....150,08013*u aa u "u 2,960 88,103 519,573 365,981 76,711 14,742 40,953 Countries. 1829. 1830. Italy, ..... 75,604 qrs.qrs. Malta,...... 65 " 28,612 " Egypt,......6,931 " 7,268 " BritishNAmer?5649 u 76654 r ican colonies, ^ 'U. States, ...113,818 " 184,100 Jersey, Guern) sey, Alder [ 13,500 " 17,349 " ney, & Man, } Total imports, 1829, 1,676,077 qrs,; 1830, 1,675,430; 1831, 2,319,461.