Aegilops is a genus of flowering plants in the grass family, Poaceae. They are known generally as goatgrasses. The native distribution of the genus extends from the western Mediterranean to Central Asia, and some species are known elsewhere as introduced weeds.
These are annual plants, sometimes from rhizomes. The taller species reach about 80 centimeters in maximum height. The flat leaves are linear to narrowly lance-shaped, and are up to 15 centimeters long and one wide. The inflorescence is a spike with 2 to 12 solitary spikelets each up to 1.2 centimeters long. Some spikelets have one or three awns, and some have none.
Genus Aegilops has played an important role in the taxonomy of wheat. The familiar common wheat (Triticum aestivum) arose when cultivated emmer wheat hybridized with Aegilops tauschii about 8,000 years ago. Aegilops and Triticum are genetically similar, as evidenced by their ability to hybridize, and by the presence of Aegilops in the evolutionary heritage of many Triticum taxa. Aegilops is sometimes treated within Triticum. They are maintained as separate genera by most authorities because of their ecological characteristics, and because when united they do not form a monophyletic group.
Some Aegilops are known as weeds. A. cylindrica infests wheat fields, where it outcompetes wheat plants, reducing yields. Its seeds mix with wheat grains at harvest, lowering the quality of the crop. It can also harbor pests such as the Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia) and pathogenic fungi. Other Aegilops are weeds of rangeland and wildland habitat.
The genus name Aegilops comes from the Greek aegilos, which could mean "a goat", "goatlike", "a herb liked by goats", or perhaps "a grass similar to that liked by goats". "Aegilops" is notable for being the longest word now in use in the English language that has letters in alphabetical order.
- Aegilops bicornis
- Aegilops biuncialis
- Aegilops caudata
- Aegilops columnaris
- Aegilops comosa
- Aegilops crassa – Persian goatgrass
- Aegilops cylindrica – jointed goatgrass
- Aegilops geniculata
- Aegilops juvenalis
- Aegilops kotschyi – ovate goatgrass
- Aegilops longissima
- Aegilops lorentii – Lorent's goatgrass
- Aegilops mutica
- Aegilops neglecta – three-awned goatgrass
- Aegilops peregrina
- Aegilops searsii – Sears' goatgrass
- Aegilops sharonensis – Sharon goatgrass
- Aegilops speltoides
- Aegilops tauschii – Tausch's goatgrass
- Aegilops triuncialis – barbed goatgrass
- Aegilops umbellulata
- Aegilops uniaristata
- Aegilops vavilovii
- Aegilops ventricosa
- Aegilops. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
- Watson, L. and M. J. Dallwitz. 1992 onwards. Aegilops. The Grass Genera of the World. Version: 18 December 2012.
- Aegilops. The Jepson eFlora 2013.
- Aegilops. Triticeae Genus Fact Sheets. Intermountain Herbarium. Utah State University.
- Aegilops. GrassBase. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Version 16 November 2012.
- Jia, J., et al. (2013). Aegilops tauschii draft genome sequence reveals a gene repertoire for wheat adaptation. Nature 496, 91–95.
- Petersen, G., et al. (2006). Phylogenetic relationships of Triticum and Aegilops and evidence for the origin of the A, B, and D genomes of common wheat (Triticum aestivum). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39(1), 70-82.
- Aegilops. Encycloweedia Data Sheets. California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
- Longest English word with letters arranged in alphabetical order. Guinness World Records.
- Aegilops. The Plant List.
- Aegilops classification systems. Wheat Genetic and Genomics Resource Center. Kansas State University.
- Yamane, K. and T. Kawahara. (2005). Intra- and interspecific phylogenetic relationships among diploid Triticum-Aegilops species (Poaceae) based on base-pair substitutions, indels, and microsatellites in chloroplast noncoding sequences. American Journal of Botany 92(11), 1887-98.