What would you call the thing on this image:

sheaves of wheat golden at harvest time


I am looking for the general term, I know that it has more types:

  • wheat
  • barley
  • oat
  • rye


  • grain
  • cereal
  • cereals
  • Do you want to include rice, millet, etc.?
    – GEdgar
    Oct 29, 2016 at 17:22
  • These would generally be referred to as cereal grains.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 29, 2016 at 17:57
  • cereals, or grasses. Cereals are grasses whose seeds are starchy and used as human food.
    – Drew
    Oct 29, 2016 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


Cereal and grain are the go-to names for these; in Britain, they sometimes use corn. Since your picture shows plants growing on a field, you may choose to be more precise by calling them cereal plants, cereal crops or grain plants/crops.

From a botanical perspective, these plants are all Poaceae (or Gramineae) in taxonomic terminology, and grasses or true grasses in English.

  • 7
    Also fro a "botanic perspective" is caryopsis: a small, one-celled, one-seeded, dry indehiscent fruit with the pericarp adherent to the seed coat, the typical fruit of grasses and grains. Oct 29, 2016 at 17:13
  • 2
    My understanding is that the original use of corn was as the term for all grain crops. When the New World was discovered and maize introduced to the English-speaking world is was called Indian corn. In the States the word 'corn' gradually came to mean maize and no other grains but in Britain we have continued to use 'corn' in its original sense.
    – BoldBen
    Oct 29, 2016 at 22:48
  • 1
    @BoldBen Yes, The King James bible from 1611 uses "corn" in this way and arguably another: "the most popular grain of a country".
    – Xeoncross
    Oct 30, 2016 at 1:09

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