Today in China, hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum – common wheat or bread wheat) is one of the major staple food crops. The other key cereal staples – rice, foxtail millet and broomcorn millet – are widely accepted as Chinese domesticates, but the origins of wheat cultivation in China are the subject of debate. There has long been a belief among Chinese scholars that China was an independent centre of wheat domestication, but recent scholarship suggests that cultivated wheat was introduced to China from its original site of domestication in the Near East. The precise path of entry is unknown. It is argued here that it is most likely to have been introduced at some time around the late 6th to early 5th millennium BP. Two hypotheses are presented. One hypothesis, supported primarily by the paleobotanical evidence, postulates that T. aestivum came in from the west, through northern Xinjiang, probably from Afghanistan or the Central Asian oases rather than the Eurasian steppes. The second, supported by the available archaeological evidence, proposes that the route of entry might have been from the north-west, from Eurasia, through southern Siberia and Mongolia.
Via Dorian Q Fuller