Dika wheat

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Dika wheat

Among cultivated plants developed through the long process of selection by the populations living in Georgia, grape and wheat varieties occupy a highly important place. Dika wheat is an old variety endemic to Georgia from where it spread to neighboring countries, Armenia, Turkey and the Dagestan region of the Russian Federation, but there we meet Dika only in mixed cultivation.

It was first described by the Russian scientist N. Vavilov in 1918. He observed various wheat species on an Oxford experimental plot. Among the samples, a species of wheat was supplied by a German company, and they named it Triticum persicum Vav, according to the information provided by the supplier. It was only in 1921 that a Russian botanist P. Zhukovsky discovered a wide distribution of this wheat in Georgia, Dika wheat and corrected N. Vavilov’s mistake, described Dika wheat according to its place of origin and named it Triticum carthlicum Nevsky.

Dika’s spike look very much like the spike of wheat; a distinctive feature is the existing of beard-like appendices on the husk of a spikelet. Dika is a high-mountain summer wheat. The vertical range of its distribution is between 1000-2000 meters above sea level. Dika in Georgia grew in the Main Caucasus mountainous regions, Trialeti and JavakhetiTsalka. In former centuries in Georgia Dika was sown alone as well as mixed with high-mountain species of soft wheat. In “pure sowings” Dika has three main forms white, red and black. The red-spike variety was the most commonly found, while the black and white forms were relatively rare. Among biological peculiarities Dika’s frost resistance is very important, as early fall of temperatures often occur in high mountains.

At present Dika is being sown only in Samtskhe-Javakheti, in the village of Tsnisi, by a few farmers with the help of the Elkana Association.
Nowdays the risk of disappearing this variety is low, but as long as there are other high yielding varieties in Georgia the concurrence between them is high. Dika grain is characterized by a good baking quality, and for centuries it has been used for baking bread.

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Production area:Tbilisi

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Cereals and flours

Nominated by:Tamaz Dundua