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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 15 No. 6, p. 844-849
    Received: Apr 23, 1975

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The Crested Wheatgrasses of Iran1

  1. D. R. Dewey and
  2. K. H. Asay2



More than 200 collections of crested wheatgrass, Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn., from Iran were studied with respect to geographic origin, cytology, morphology, and fertility. In Iran, crested wheatgrasses are found primarily in the Alborz mountain range at latitudes north of 35° and at elevations between 600 and 3,400 m.

Iranian crested wheatgrasses occur at three ploidy levels — 2n=14, 28, and 42. Tetraploids are the most common, and they are found throughout the entire distribution area. Hexaploid populations occur only in the Azerbaijan province in northwestern Iran. Only one diploid collection, from Mt. Sabalan in northwestern Iran, is known. The polyploid races behave cytologically as autoploids. Heterozygous chromosome interchanges are common in the tetraploids, and aneuploidy is uncommon.

Significant variation in maturity, height, texture, rhizome development, fertility, and seed size occurs between and within populations. More than half of the collections are rhizomatous. Breeders may be able to incorporate the rhizmnatous habit into strains for use on sites where stand establishment is difficult or where solid ground cover is important.

All Iranian crested wheatgrass collections are broadspiked types, identified by North American agrostologists as A. cristatum. Although this usage differs from that of some European and Asian authors, a change in nomenclature is not recommended until the biological and taxonomic relations among all crested wheatgrasses are clarified.

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