Identifying Grass Seedlings

Wheat, volunteer (Triticum aestivum)

Winter annual grasses


Volunteer wheat is a coarse, nonpersistent annual grass. Stems are erect, branch at the base and reach up to 3–3½ feet in height. Leaf blades are 7–11 mm wide and smooth but rarely rough. Auricles are small to prominent, and the ligule is a short membrane.

Volunteer wheatVolunteer wheat.

Collar region Small to prominent auriclesCollar region: short, membranous ligule.
Right, small to prominent auricles.


Wheat is a commonly cultivated agronomic crop grown in many soil types, but volunteer wheat can persist in any disturbed site in wheat-growing areas. It can also be a contaminant in turfgrass settings where its straw was placed on the soil surface during seedling establishment.


Volunteer wheat is found throughout Missouri and other wheat-producing areas of the United States.

Similar species

Some of the ryegrass species (Lolium spp.) have a similar growth habit but a glossier texture.