“Perennial wheat” is actually an amphiploid hybrid between wheat and Thinopyrum (“wheatgrass”).
It’s not the exact same critter as annual wheat, it doesn’t grow the same, doesn’t look the same, and it doesn’t thresh the same. Tim says he’s made bread out of it, though I do not know anything about what its gluten levels are like. You should be able to mix it with bread flour, and it will probably work as pastry flour. It is likely to have an interesting “nutty” overtone to the flavor, thanks to the Thinopyrum.
I’d better warn you up-front that it is quite difficult to thresh because of its tough heads. By the same token it is highly shatter-resistant!
The grain is smallish and green (mostly; a few grains are brown), though in its defense it has been growing totally without irrigation or fertilizer in a dryish climate on poor soil.
In general “perennial wheat” (formerly called “xAgrotriticum” but then they changed the name of Agropyrum to Thinopyrum) was originally bred for disease-resistance and protein content, not perenniality, but this particular batch of this particular variety was harvested from particularly long-lived plants grown by Tim Peters, formerly of Peters Seed and Research.
This particular strain was bred by Sandoz. It’s most valuable use would probably be for further breeding work to take advantage of the perenniality and disease-resistance. The grain heads would probably make fairly long-lasting material for dried arrangements.
Want some? Here’s the deal:
I’m taking orders and shipping the packets but forwarding the receipts to Tim Peters to raise needed funds. This is not a part of our business operations, and I can’t guarantee the seed as we normally would. I also can’t replace it; once it’s sold out, it’s gone. Seed offered on an “as is” basis only, in consideration of your generous support of Tim Peters and his work.
$10 for 20 seeds, postage paid. Keep in mind that since it is perennial it grows out significantly faster than annual wheat. You not only retain your starting plants but you can actually divide them fairly easily.
We’ve gotten numerous requests for perennial wheat and this is the first batch that we can make available, and the only batch until next year’s crop becomes available Autumn 2012. This is a rare crop and it’s getting rarer. Several different Google searches for it returned no results. Peters Seed and Research went out of business a while ago (a new website bearing that name is mine and is a placeholder for if and when we can help Tim get his business back up and running). It is hard to get programs that have been working on perennial wheat to share any, budget money is running out, and one program I happen to know about only has 2 years of funding left. I suspect that within 5 years’ time perennial wheat will be practically unobtainable to anyone without connections.
We start these NOW. You can buy them now and plant them whenever makes sense in your climate. By the way, we do not know what its winter hardiness limits are. Severe cold without snow-cover might be problematic. Might also depend on how well-established it is by the time winter hits.
We strongly suggest starting them in trays in a protected location.
$10 check or money order made out to “Tim Peters” to
c/o New World Seed and Tubers, LLC
PO Box 16085
Seattle, WA 98116