Family: Poaceae (Gramineae)
Common Names: Cultivated Oat, Cultivated Oats, Common Oat.
See: Oats (for allergy to the food), Cultivated Oat (for allergy to the pollen), and False Oat grass (Arrhenatherum elatius).
Wild oats may be the origin of this cultivated form, now used for human and animal food. Oats have been cultivated since classical times in cooler climates. The plant has given rise to such colloquial expressions as 'off one's oats', 'feel one's oats' and 'sow one's wild oats'.
Common Oats is of uncertain origin, but probably originated in Europe from two species of wild oats (A. fatua L.) and wild red oat (A. sterilis L.). Oats are now cultivated throughout the temperate zones of the world. The major growing areas are the USA, southern Canada, the USSR and Europe, particularly around the Mediterranean.
Oats are an erect, tufted annual grass, growing to 1.2m. The culms are smooth or scabrous beneath the panicle. The leaves are 15 to 30cm long and 0.6 to 1.2cm wide, with loose sheaths. The spikelets, usually 2-flowered, are up to 2.5cm long, and the kernel is 0.6 to 0.8cm long, narrow, with nearly parallel sides, and hairy.
It is in flower between early spring and early summer, and the seeds ripen between late summer and mid-autumn, depending on the environment. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). Self-pollination is normal, but cross-pollination by wind also occurs.
Oats may escape cultivated fields and are found in dry wasteland, cultivated ground and meadows, especially on heavier soils.
Oats are used as a cereal, or in making biscuits, sourdough, etc., but usually not bread. Oats are also one of basic ingredients of whisky, a coffee substitute. An edible oil obtained from the seed is used in the manufacture of commercial breakfast cereals.
The straw has a wide range of uses, such as for bio-mass, fibre, mulch, paper-making, building board and thatching, and as a stuffing and bedding material. The hulls can serve as a filter in breweries.
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See: Oats (for allergy to the food),
Cultivated Oat (for allergy to the pollen), and,
False Oat grass (Arrhenatherum elatius)
Editor Comment Editorial comment, common knowledge, or still to add - -
[ 1 ]
Asthma, allergic rhinits and allergic conjunctivitis. Oat pollen is an occupational allergen among dairy farmers. (Rautalahti 1987 ref.2159 9)
Rautalahti M, Terho EO, Vohlonen I, Husman K. Atopic sensitization of dairy farmers to work-related and common allergens. Eur J Respir Dis Suppl 1987;152:155-164
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Allergy Advisor - Zing Solutions
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