Oat (Avena sativa) is an annual plant that belongs to the grass family. This cereal was grown as early as 7000 BC. Oats originated from wild oats in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia. Oats were an important crop until the late Middle Ages. Until then, it was grown for human consumption (oatcakes, gruel and oat soup) and livestock feed. Oats were also the most common grain used for beer brewing. It was not until much later that oats were replaced by malting barley as a beer brewing ingredient. The oat plant grows up to about 1.2 m. It blooms in June and its inflorescence is a panicle consisting of two self-pollinating florets. The kernels are ripe in August.
Oats are also used as horse feed and in the production of rolled oat and oat flakes.