Hebridean Rye

Hebridean Rye (Secale cereale L.)

Rye has never been an important crop in the UK compared to other cereals. Perceval (1946) observed that "no well-marked races of rye are met with and the number of constant varieties is small". The Hebridean rye is the least known of the Scottish landraces, although historical references document rye cultivation on the islands. However, it's origin is unknown.

The rye is grown in a mixture with oat, in order to safeguard a harvest in dry years. The ratio oat to rye was usually given as 40 to 60 but also as 30 to 70 on the lighter soils in South Uist. No common or local names were encountered for the local rye.

The first two accessions of rye in the SASA landrace collection have been collected as a mixture with Small Oat (Avena strigosa Schreb.) whereas the final two accessions are pure.


Percival, J. (1946) Agricultural botany : theoretical and practical, 8th ed., London: Duckworth.


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