The plant is very hardy in the face of drought, heat, and cold. It is easy to thresh, because the grain falls easily out of its husk.
The kernels are large, reddish-yellow, and very hard. The endosperm is yellow.
It is normally considered a spring wheat in North America, where it is grown in the great plains areas. North Dakota produces 70% of the durum wheat grown in America; in Canada, Saskatchewan accounts for the bulk of the production.
Winter varieties are grown in other parts of the world such as in Argentina, and the Tavoliere plain in Puglia, Italy.
Popular varieties of Durum Wheat to grow in North America are Westbred 881, Kofa, Tacna, Mohawk, and Cortez.
Durum Wheat has a very high protein content, but despite that, it isn’t generally favoured for making bread from, because the gluten in it isn’t as strong as that in regular wheat.
Flour and meals from Durum Wheat are generally used for pasta, couscous and noodles. Durum Wheat flour is used for some baked goods in Sicily.
Durum wheat is no more or less healthy for you than other wheat. A label on a product that says “100 per cent durum wheat” is almost certainly telling the truth, however, that is very different from “100 per cent whole grain durum wheat.” Most durum is processed into a white flour for pasta, etc.
Durum Wheat probably originated by natural mutation from Emmer wheat. It is the second wheat that man used after Emmer.
Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen. YouDocs Column : Don’t fall for deceptive labels on durum wheat. Toronto Star. 16 March 2011.