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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 40 No. 1, p. 248-255
    Received: Jan 7, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): mdcasler@facstaff.wisc.edu
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Patterns of Variation in a Collection of Meadow Fescue Accessions

  1. Michael D. Casler *a and
  2. Edzard van Santenb
  1. a Dep. of Agronomy, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706-1597 USA
    b Dep. of Agronomy, Auburn Univ., Auburn, AL 36849-5412 USA


Meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis Huds.) is a pasture grass that has been little used in North America since the introduction of its higher yielding relative tall fescue (F. arundinacea Schreb.). The objectives of this study were to quantify genotypic variation for agronomic traits within the USDA National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) collection of meadow fescue accessions and to relate that variation to the geographic source of the accessions. Seedlings of 213 accessions were transplanted to Ashland and Marshfield, WI, and to Crossville, AL, in 1991. Four spaced plants per accession, overseeded with white clover (Trifolium repens L.), were established at each location. Forage yield, disease reaction, morphological traits, maturity, and survival were determined in 1992 and 1993. For most traits, accessions responded similarly at the two Wisconsin locations, but differently between Wisconsin and Alabama. Phenotypic correlations between the two states were positive, but very low. Between 18 and 36% of the sum of squares for accessions was due to country or region source of each accession. Romanian and Hungarian accessions had the highest mean forage yield, with superior survival in both Wisconsin and Alabama. Several accessions had short, narrow leaf blades, thin stems, wide crowns, and high survival, suggesting potential use as turf-type germplasm. A core collection of 55 accessions was proposed on the basis of cluster analysis classification.

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