Wheatgrass Jointing Stage
Laboratory analyses clearly indicate that the nutrients found in young green cereal plants vary with the stage of growth, rather than with the age or height of the plant.
Chlorophyll, protein, and most of the vitamins found in cereal grasses reach their peak concentrations in the period just prior to the jointing stage of the green plant. Although this period lasts for only a few days, cereal grasses which are consumed as food supplements should be harvested precisely during this stage of the wheat or barley plant’s development.
The jointing stage is that point at which the internodal tissue in the grass leaf begins to elongate, forming a stem. This stage represents the peak of the cereal plant’s vegetative development; factors involved in photosynthesis and plant metabolism would be expected to increase up to this stage.
After the jointing stage, the stem forms branches and continues to elongate. The chlorophyll, protein, and vitamin contents of the plant decline sharply as the level of cellulose increases. Cellulose, the indigestible plant fiber, provides structural stability for the growing stem.
Over a period of several months, the green leafy plants are transformed into golden stalks of grain. The mature cereal plant holds the seed grains which contain the nutrients necessary for germination and early growth of the young cereal plant. And so the seed-grass-grain cycle continues.