EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 05 - 2015 Num. article: 2015/102

New BBCH growth stage keys

The BBCH* growth stage keys aimed to provide a standard and uniform description of the visible growth stages of plants, using a two-digit decimal code. This system has been developed for many important crops, such as cereals, rice, maize, rape, potato, fruit trees, small fruits, vegetables (see EPPO RS 2011/119). In 1997, the BBCH growth stage keys were recommended by the EPPO Working Party on Plant Protection Products and by Council for use in EPPO countries, thus replacing the previously recommended EPPO growth stage keys. The following new BBCH scales have recently been published to describe the growth stages of:

  • Asparagus officinalis (edible asparagus) (Feller et al., 2012).
  • Camellia japonica (camellia) (Vela et al., 2013).
  • Carthamus tinctorius (safflower) (Flemmer et al., 2013).
  • Capparis spinosa (caper plant) (Legua et al., 2013).
  • Elaeis guineensis (African oil palm) (Forero et al., 2011).
  • Silybum marianum (Martinelli et al., 2015).
  • Solanum muricatum (pepino) (Herraiz et al., 2015).
  • Xanthostemon chrysanthus (golden penda tree) (Ahmad Nazurudin et al., 2012).
  • Ziziphus jujube (jujube tree) (Hernández et al., 2015).

* The abbreviation BBCH derives from the first letters of the German names of Biologische Bundesanstalt (Federal Biological Research Centre), Bundessortenamt (Federal Plant Variety Office) and Chemical industry.


Ahmad Nazurudin Mr, Tsan FY, Normaniza O, Adzmi Y (2012) Phenological growth stages of the golden penda tree (Xanthostemon chrysanthus). Annals of Applied Biology 161(12), 12-15.
Feller C, Richter E, Smolders T, Wichura A (2012) Phenological growth stages of edible asparagus (Asparagus officinalis): codification and description according to the BBCH scale. Annals of Applied Biology 160(2), 174-180.
Flemmer AC, Franchini MC, Lindström LI (2015) Description of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) phenological growth stages according to the extended BBCH scale. Annals of Applied Biology 166(2), 331-339.
Forero DC, Hormaza P, Romero HM (2011) Phenological growth stages of African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis). Annals of Applied Biology 160(1), 56-65.
Hernández FCA, Legua P, Melgarejo P, Martínez R, Martínez JJ (2015) Phenological growth stages of jujube tree (Ziziphus jujube): codification and description according to the BBCH scale. Annals of Applied Biology 166(1), 136-142.
Herraiz FJ, Vilanova S, Plazas M, Gramazio P, Andújar I, Rodríguez-Burruezo A, Fita A, Anderson GJ, Prohens J (2015) Phenological growth stages of pepino (Solanum muricatum) according to the BBCH scale. Scientia Horticulturae 183, 1-7 (abst.).
Legua P, Martínez JJ, Melgarejo P, Martínez R, Hernandez F (2013) Phenological growth stages of caper plant (Capparis spinosa L.) according to the Biologische Bundesanstalt, Bundessortenamt and CHemical scale. Annals of Applied Biology 163, 135-141.
Liu K, Li H, Yuan C, Huang Y, Chen Y, Liu J (2014) Identification of phenological growth stages of sugar apple (Annona squamosa L.) using the extended BBCH-scale. Scientia Horticulturae 181, 76-80 (abst.).
Martinelli T, Andrzejewska J, Salis M, Sulas L (2015) Phenological growth stages of Silybum marianum according to the extended BBCH scale. Annals of Applied Biology 166(1), 53-66.
Vela P, Salinero C, Sainz MJ (2013) Phenological growth stages of Camellia japonica. Annals of Applied Biology 162(2), 182-190.