Allium tetraploidy?
Thu, 24 Jun 2004 19:45:20 PDT
From: "diana chapman" wrote:
"Is there any record of tetraploidy in alliums?"

Yes indeed.  Because the genus Allium has within it a number of important 
economic food crops, there are innumerable scientific studies on the genus.  
Example: In the important publication "The Genus Allium - Taxonomic Problems and 
Genetic Resources", Procedings of the International Symposium held at 
Gatersleben Germany, June 11-13, 1991, there are many articles that discuss this very 
issue.  In one particular report, Russian botantist and well-known Allium 
expert Nicolai Friesen presents his studies entitled "Systematics of the Siberian 
polyploid complex in subgenus Rhizirideum (Allium)".  It is interesting to 
learn, that some common species like A. splendens and strictum, occur as diploids, 
tetraploids, and hexaploids.  This is documented for many other allium as 
well.  It might explain your robust found form of Allium falcifolium.

In the same publication, America's noted authority on the genus allium, Dale 
W. McNeal makes some interesting comments about American Allium species.  One, 
is that the American species are quite isolated and distinct from the old 
world species, with the American species having a base chromosone count of x=7, 
whereas it is x=8 for the old world species.  He also writes regarding American 
alliums "most species are diploid or show polyploid races that are 
indistinguishable from the diploids", but goes on to write about exceptions where the 
tetraploids look different and might have been separated as varieties.

I know next to nothing about this stuff (ploidy levels) and I'm just 
reporting what I find out of some dependable resources, but it is interesting to have 
at least some basic understanding of this sort of thing, to help assess what 
one finds sees when botanizing out in nature.

Mark McDonough Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States "New England" USDA Zone 5
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