CHARACTERISATION OF THE WILD ALLIUM AMPELOPRASUM COMPLEX IN FRANCE: INTERESTING CHARACTERS OF ALLIUM POLYANTHUM S.S. FOR GENETIC RESOURCES
- A. ampeloprasum L., found in Provence and in Hérault,
- A. ampeloprasum var. bulbilliferum Lloyd, found on the Ile d'Yeu
- A. commutatum Guss, found exclusively on the Corsican seashores,
- A. polyanthum S.S. , a mediterraneo-atlantic plant with a few isolated populations found in Maine et Loire, Cher and Corsica.
All these Allium are or have been consumed as "leek" or as "garlic".
The Allium of the ampeloprasum complex are characterised by flat leaves, tricuspidate stamens, reproduction by underground increase bulbs and/or by aerial inflorescent bulbils. Like most Allium, they contain sulfur compounds, some of which are volatile such as thiosulfinates and alkyl sulfides. These substances influence biocenotic relationships, particularly conditionning the attraction of an insect specialist to the Allium family, the moth Acrolepiopsis assectella Zell whose larvae sometimes wreak havoc in leek cultures, both vegetable and seed crops.
Wild allium can be found by the sea in soils with abnormally high levels of Na2O, CaO and MgO.
The morphological characteristics traditionaly used to define flora are not reliable when applied to these Allium. The length of the spathe and the pollen viability distinguish A. ampeloprasum from A. commutatum, sympatric in Corsica, and A. polyanthum from A. ampelopra-sum, sympatric in Herault. However, only the size and number of stiped increase bulbs, counted at flowering, can be considered as discriminatory charactics of the three species.
On the other hand, these Allium have different degrees of ploidy, all in base 8 :
- A. ampeloprasum = 4x = 32
- A. ampeloprasum var. bulbilliferum = 6 x = 48