The Jointing Stage: When
Nutrients Reach Their Peak
Laboratory analyses clearly indicate
that the nutrients found in young green cereal plants
vary with the stage of growth, rather than with the age
or height of the plant.
Chlorophyll, protein, and most of
the vitamins found in cereal grasses reach their peak
concentrations in the period just prior to the jointing
stage of the green plant. Although this period lasts for
only a few days, cereal grasses which are consumed as
food supplements should be harvested precisely during
this stage of the wheat or barley plant’s
The jointing stage is that point at
which the internodal tissue in the grass leaf begins to
elongate, forming a stem. This stage represents the peak
of the cereal plant’s vegetative development;
factors involved in photosynthesis and plant metabolism
would be expected to increase up to this stage.
After the jointing stage, the stem
forms branches and continues to elongate. The
chlorophyll, protein, and vitamin contents of the plant
decline sharply as the level of cellulose increases.
Cellulose, the indigestible plant fiber, provides
structural stability for the growing stem.
Over a period of several months, the
green leafy plants are transformed into golden stalks of
grain. The mature cereal plant holds the seed grains
which contain the nutrients necessary for germination and
early growth of the young cereal plant. And so the
seed-grass-grain cycle continues.