This landrace is from the Houran plateau of northern Jordan and Southern Syria. Seed was collected by Vavilov in the 1920’s also found at an excavation of Masada in the 1970’s. He stated that it was a wheat of exceptional quality, early maturing and resistant to lodging and drought.
Descriptions and Photos courtesy of John Sherck, Bill McDorman, and Kevin Payne
Scott Hucker, Great Lakes Staple Seeds, Ortonville, MI
Collected by seedsman Nikolay Vavilov from the arid volcanic Houran Plateau of southwest Syria, northwest Jordan. Hourani does grow in our Michigan humidity; however, compared to many wheats we grow, the yield is very low. Wanting to eventually bake with it, I grow this landrace to select for adaptation to less arid growing conditions.
John Sherck, Bristol, IN
I have found it to be exceptionally lodge resistant after two seasons with extremely heavy downpours. Not a single stalk has lodged. I have had some difficultly with fusarium, more so in 2015 than this last season (2016). I selected heavily in 2015. The plants this season were more robust, with better grain fill and much less disease.
My seed stock came from The Medomak Valley High School Heirloom Seed Project. This is second year seed. I am experimenting with this as a winter wheat for the 2017 season.
Re: Importance of regionality when choosing wheat to grow –
The top photo is 2 separate grow-outs of spring planted, Hourani durum wheat. Both are from the same seed stock (my seed selection from the last 4 seasons). The 2 grain heads on the left were grown by my friend Kevin Payne in Taft, California. The single, smaller head on the right, is from my farm this summer here in Northern Indiana. Taft gets an average 4″ of rain per year with spring and summer temps in the 90’s – 110 Fahrenheit and with low humidity (Kevin did not irrigate). Northern Indiana, by comparison, experiences heavy and frequent rainfall in the spring and summer (May had over 8″ and June was nearly 5″), with temperatures ranging from the mid 70’s to 90 degrees, and extended periods of high humidity. Kevin’s crop produced health, heavily tillered plants with enormous seed heads, filled with plump healthy grain. One seed head he sent me had 105 grains! The ones in the photo he referred to as medium sized as he kept the largest for seed. My Hourani produced strong plants but with fewer tillers (4 – 6), and with smaller grain heads. Kevin’s individual grains were larger as well (bottom photo: Taft on the left, Indiana on the right). I also had a real challenge dealing with disease this season on all of my spring wheats, by contrast, my winter wheat had very minimal problems. I am sure that Hourani could be “somewhat” adapted to the Midwest, but I doubt it will ever yield like it can in a region that is arid and hot. Bare in mind that Hourani is a 2000 year old landrace, collected by Eli Rogosa in Israel.