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Wheat Information Service
Number 75: 57 - 62 (1992)

First report on occurrence of Aegilops ventricosa Tausch in Greece

A. Zamanis1, P. Efthymiadis2, N. Stavropoulos1, S. Samaras1

1 Greek Gene Bank, Thessaloniki, Greece
2 Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece


Aegilops ventricosa Tausch, an allotetraploid species with a DMv (Kihara, 1954) or a DUn genomic constitution (Kimber and Sears 1983) was never found in Greece in past explorations. According to distribution maps produced by Eig (1929), Zhukovski (1928), Harlan and Zohary (1966) and Chapman (1985), the species has a medium-sized geographical distribution in West Mediterranean (
Fig.1), whose East limits are fixed by some scattered collection places in SW Italy and Libya.

The species has arisen from the hybrid between Ae. squarrosa and Ae. uniaristata:

However, there is an enormous gap between the distributions of its two putative diploid parents (Fig.1), for which satisfactory account has yet to be given.

Ae. uniaristata occupies areas with average conditions of water supply in West Greece, west coast of Yugoslavia and Albania, in contrast to Ae. squarrosa which grows in dwarf shrub steppes of the fertile crescent, with eastern-most distribution limits reaching China (Tanaka and Tsujimoto 1991). In addition, the distribution area of Ae. ventricosa, being larger than that of Ae. uniaristata but smaller than that of Ae. squarrosa, does not overlap with either of its progenitors.

Collecting expedition: Preliminary characterization

In a gramineae collecting expedition in Central Makedonia, Greece, jointly organized by the Greek Gene Bank, and the Agricultural University of Athens (Collecting team: Athanasios Zamanis, Nikolaos Stavropoulos and Stelios Samaras from the Greek Gene Bank, and Panagiotis Efthymiadis from the Agricultural University of Athens), a small population of Aegilops ventricosa was found in a location some 7 km. west of Veria, capital of the prefecture of Imathia, at the outskirts of village Georgiani, near the old road to Kozani (
Fig. 2). The collection site is located in the SE slopes of Vermion mountain, at an altitude of 450-470 m above sea level, and is a disturbed denuded oak forest with deciduous Mediterranean forest species and "maquis". The species was grown sympatrically with Ae. triunicialis L., Ae. ovata L., Ae. biuncialis Vis, Ae. triaristata Willd (UM), Ae. triaristata Willd (UM), Ae. triaristata Willd (UMUn), Ae. comosa Sibth & Sm and Ae. caudata L. The flora of the site included also a large population of Triticum boeoticum never reported to exist in that region.

The collected seed was sown for multiplication, characterization and preliminary evaluation in the experimental fields of the Greek Gene Bank, in Thessaloniki, in the autumn of 1991, along with some other Ae. ventricosa accessions kindly provided by Dr. J. C. Graddock, used as controls. The plants showed all typical Ae. ventricosa characteristics. Natural habitat, plant habit and spike morphology are shown in
Fig. 3.


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