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Book: International Germplasm Transfer: Past and Present
Published by: Crop Science Society of America and American Society of Agronomy



  1.  p. 61-67
    CSSA Special Publication 23.
    International Germplasm Transfer: Past and Present

    Ronny R. Duncan (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-602-1


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500 Years of Forage Germplasm Transfer

  1. Glenn W. Burton
  1. USDA -ARS, University of Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton, Georgia



The forages are a few grass and legume species that are planted to provide food for domestic animals [cattle (Bos taurus), horses (Equus caballus), sheep (Ovis aries), and goats (Capra hircus)]. The grasses, Gramineae, which number more than 10 000 species, are mans most useful family of plants. All of the forage grasses used in the USA are foreigners. Two of the more important species, tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L. Pers.) originated in Europe and Africa, respectively. The improved bermudagrasses such as ‘Coastal’ and ‘Tifton 85’ are planted vegetatively. The other forage grasses are established from seed. The legumes, Leguminoseae, numbering some 12 000 species, supply their N needs from air by symbiosis with bacteria in the nodules on their roots. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) the most important forage legume originated in southwest Asia. White clover (Trifolium repens L.) the most important pasture legume in the USA, like most other clovers evolved in Europe.

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Copyright © 1995. Copyright © 1995 by the American Society of Agronomy, Inc., Crop Science Society of America, Inc., 5585 Guilford Rd., Madison, WI 53711 USA