Oat (cereal)

   Oats are a cereal grain planted widely in the northern states. It may grow wild. The leaves are bluish-green on a stem up to five feet tall.
   Spring oats require wet, cool and even cloudy weather. Winter oats need to be grown in regions where the winters are not severe. They will do well in heavy, even poor, soils as long as they have plenty of water.
   Oats contain more protein, fat and minerals than other grains. However, it lacks gluten which is desirable in the flour necessary to make light bread. Man also uses oats as livestock feed, a nurse and hay crop, and straw bedding for livestock quarters.
   The flower is an inflorescence with some plants having as many as 60 hanging or upright spikelets. Threshing does not remove all of the pericarp or fruit wall which limits the quality of flour extracted from the starchy endosperm. The material left is called groat.