Avena sativa, Avena byzantina, Avena fatua var. orientalis,
Cat Grass, Common Oat, Wild Oat,
Hebrew: שיבולת-שועל תרבותית, Arabic: الشوفان

Scientific name:  Avena sativa L.
Scientific name:  Avena byzantina K.Koch, Avena fatua L. subsp. sativa (L.) Thell.,
Avena fatua L. var. sativa (L.) Hausskn., Avena sativa L. var. orientalis (Schreb.) Alef.
Common name:   Cat Grass, Common Oat, Wild Oat
Hebrew name:  שיבולת-שועל תרבותית
Arabic name:  الشوفان
Family:  Gramineae / Poaceae, דגניים

Israel, Flowers, wildflowers

Life form:  Therophyte, annual
Stems:  Culms 40-180 cm, erect, unbranched
Leaves:  Alternate, entire; surface scaberulous, rough on both sides; smooth margin, 15–30 cm long, 0.6–1.2 cm wide
Inflorescence:  Panicles 20-40 cm long, 5-15 cm wide, nodding; spikelets 25-32 mm (to 50 mm in naked oats), with 1-2 florets (to 7 in naked oats)
Flowers:  Spikelets comprising 2–3 fertile florets; glumes subequal, 20-32 mm, 9-11-veined; calluses glabrous; lemmas 14-18 mm, usually indurate (membranous in naked oats), usually glabrous, sometimes sparsely strigose, apices erose to dentate, longest teeth 0.2-0.5 mm, awns usually absent, 15-30 mm when present, arising in the middle 1/3, weakly twisted, not or only weakly geniculate; lodicules with a lobe or tooth on the wings, this sometimes very small; anthers 3-4.3 mm; green
Fruits / pods:  Caryopsis; grain adherent to lemma and palea at maturity; the seeds are folk remedies for tumors. The seed contain the antitumor compound b-sitosterol
Flowering Period:   February, March, April
Habitat:  Disturbed habitats
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands
Chorotype:   Cultivar
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Avena sativa, Avena byzantina, Avena fatua var. orientalis, Cat Grass, Common Oat, Wild Oat, שיבולת-שועל תרבותית, الشوفان


Derivation of the botanical name:
Avena, Latin for oats.
sativa, sown, cultivated; cultivated.
byzantina, of Byzantium.
fatua, foolish, insipid, worthless.
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
  • The standard author abbreviation K.Koch is used to indicate Karl Heinrich Emil Koch (1809 – 1879), a German botanist.
  • The standard author abbreviation Thell. is used to indicate Albert Thellung (1881 – 1928), a Swiss botanist.
  • The standard author abbreviation Hausskn. is used to indicate Heinrich Carl Haussknecht (1838 – 1903), a German pharmacist and botanical collector.
  • The standard author abbreviation Schreb. is used to indicate Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber (1739 – 1810), a German naturalist.
  • The standard author abbreviation Alef. is used to indicate Friedrich Georg Christoph Alefeld (1820 – 1872), a German botanist, author and medical practitioner.
The origin of the expression "Sowing wild oats" is the fact that wild oats are a major weed in oat farming.
It is a weed that’s useless as a cereal crop, but its seeds have always been difficult to separate from those of useful cereals and so tended to survive and multiply from year to year. The only way to remove it was to tramp the fields and hand-weed it.
The life cycle of A. fatua is nearly synchronous with that of Common Oat.
  • Titus Maccius Plautus (254-184 BCE) commonly known as Plautus, an Ancient Rome playwright was the first to use the phrase "Sowing wild oats": "Besides that, when elsewhere the harvest of wheat is most abundant, there it comes up less by one-fourth than what you have sowed. There, methinks, it were a proper place for men to sow their wild oats, where they would not spring up. [Lat., Post id, frumenti quum alibi messis maxima'st Tribus tantis illi minus reddit, quam obseveris. Heu! istic oportet obseri mores malos, Si in obserendo possint interfieri.] Trinummus (IV, r, 128).
  • Thomas Becon (c. 1511 - 1567) is a Protestant reformer from Norfolk, who used "Sowing wild oats" to refer to young men, frittering away their time in pointless activities. "…they may satisfy the foolish desire of certain light brains and wild oats, which are altogether given to new fangleness."
  • Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), United States, author of the autobiographical Little Women (1868–69): “Boys will be boys, young men must sow their wild oats, and women must not expect miracles”.
Flora of Israel online, Native plants, Palestine