Most of the triticale grown in North America is used as livestock feed. The rest is used commercially in cereals and muffin mixes, or sold in “health food” stores in various forms such as Triticale Berries, Cracked Triticale, Triticale Flakes, and Triticale Flour. Even though the “health foodies” have taken to it owing to its superior nutritional value to wheat, it just hasn’t caught on with the general public because it’s not really ready for the big time where it matters — making bread.
Even though breeding improvements are focussing on further increasing the gluten levels you still can’t make what most people would consider a decent loaf of bread from it owing to texture and insufficient loaf volume. Testers have found that a blend of 50% Triticale / 50% wheat flour will produce a loaf of bread of a good quality.
High in protein, good amounts of lysine. Good source of some B vitamins; has more thiamin and folic acid that either wheat or rye.
Development work on triticale started in Scotland with a botanist named Alexander Stephen Wilson (1827 – 1893). He made the first cross in 1875, but it was sterile.
Wilhelm Rimpau in Germany (29 August 1842 to 20 May 1903) made the first fertile cross in 1888, but the resultant plant wasn’t that desirable, nor was it reliable in procreating itself.
In 1935, the name of “triticale” was officially adopted in Germany
In 1937, Pierre Civaudron in France developed a technique for helping to make sure that crosses would lead to fertile triticale. Work then began on choosing good varieties that were emerging from the crosses, and improving those varieties.
In 1954, the University of Manitoba (in Manitoba, Canada) created a team that began to develop a huge number of new varieties. In 1963, they teamed up with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) in Mexico. Problems to be solved included improved yield (the yield was only half that of wheat), improved gluten, improved disease resistance, reliably-sized and shaped kernels. The plant could also grow too tall and just plain fall over. And, like its parent rye, it was susceptible to the poisonous fungus called “ergot.”
In March 1967, they had a breakthrough. A man named Norman Ernest Borlaug was on the team experimenting in Mexico, growing the Triticale on dedicated breeding plots. The Triticale happened to cross-pollinate with some pure wheat, a dwarf Mexican one. The resultant strain was called “Armadillo”, and it solved many of the problems.
Now, the research focus is on higher yields, durable, hardy strains that people can rely on in developing countries, and on adaptability to different latitudes, altitudes, rainfall, geography, etc
Literature & Lore
The name triticale was invented by combining two Latin words, “triticum”, meaning wheat, and “secale”, meaning rye. Thus, tritic + ale = triticale.