Rye - Secale cereale



As I stated in the habitat section, rye is cultivated all over the world as a food and cover crop. There are several characteristics of rye that contribute to its ability to globalize. Root Diagram


The first of these adaptations is its large root system. As earlier stated, those roots are left over from before domestication. In the steppes of western Asia, there is little water for much of the year and very deep roots, up to five feet, helped the plant to acquire more water. Other than making the plant itself hardier, large roots also contribute to rye being a good cover crop for modern farmers. Secale cereale holds the dirt in over the winter, and can grow in nutrient poor soil without fertilization.


Another adaption that makes rye a good cover crop is its ability to germinate and grow in relatively cold weather (down to .5 degrees C). The adaptation that allows for such cold resistance is the synthesis of a protein called glucanase in frigid weather. This protein has been shown to act as an anti-freeze and allow for rye to function in colder temperatures. Glucanase allows A field in the winterfor rye to be planted as a winter crop in certain temperate climates where the temperature does not drop low enough to freeze out rye, but other cereal grains such as wheat and barely could not survive.



These two adaptations are make rye an integral part of modern farming.




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Root picture is courtesy of Soilandhealth.org and frosted field is from stock.xchng