The senescence of sterile glumes, flag leaf and the other two leaves below the ear of wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Sonalika) was studied in relation to grain development and surgical manipulation. The senescence of sterile glumes was faster than that of the leaves in terms of chlorophyll and protein degradation. The flag leaf senesced later than the other two leaves below it. Removal of sterile glumes markedly reduced the harvest index (crop:straw ratio) and average dry weight per grain as compared to removal of the flag leaf. Maximum grain weight was achieved after the glumes had senesced completely. Removal of the ear delayed senescence of all the three leaves. It is concluded that sterile glumes are important suppliers of assimilate for grain filling and that nutrient drainage is the primary cause of the monocarpic senescence in wheat.