CONSERVATION OF A GENE POOL OF GENUS ALLIUM L. IN A LIVING COLLECTION IN ISRAEL

R. Kamenetsky
The gene pool of the genus Allium L. (fam. Alliaceae J. Agardh) consists of a wide-ranging group of ca 500–600 species. The main bulk of taxa occur in the Northern Hemisphere. A region of especially high species diversity is located in the Irano-Turanian floristic region. A second centre is situated in western North America.

Allium is represented economically by a few cultivated species - onion, garlic, leek, shallot, chives, etc. Wild onions, either collected or cultivated in home gardens, are popular foods and home medicines in many parts of the world. In addition, a large number of species could be utilized as ornamental plants, while a number of species are common in the horticultural trade. There are also, of course, among Allium, many species with unknown value which should be preserved for future study together with rare and vanishing species about which we have insufficient knowledge.

The creation of a network of living collections would allow:

  1. the carrying out of theoretical investigations of systematics of the genus, morphological structure and life cycle of species which will extend our knowledge of one of the largest and most important taxa.
  2. evaluation of plant material and selection of wild species for possible utilization of more prospective samples as new cultivated plants. After selecting prospective species, methods for their effective propagation could be worked out.
  3. the conservation of species with unknown qualities and a complete gene pool of the genus in principle for the benefit of future generations.

The creation of a large living collection of the genus began at the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research in 1991 and first evaluations of Allium species are being carried out.

Kamenetsky, R. (1992). CONSERVATION OF A GENE POOL OF GENUS ALLIUM L. IN A LIVING COLLECTION IN ISRAEL. Acta Hortic. 325, 837-842
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1992.325.123
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1992.325.123
evaluation, new cultivated plants, genetic resources

Acta Horticulturae