Submitted to: Native Plant Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 3, 2010
Publication Date: August 1, 2010
Citation: Robins, J.G., and K.B.Jensen, 2010. Identification of thickspike wheatgrass accessions with superior rhizome spread, seed production, and seed quality. Native Plant Journal. 11:107-116. Interpretive Summary: Thickspike wheatgrass is an important grass species for rangeland reseeding efforts in western North America. However, due to poor seed yield and stand establishment, reseeding with thickspike wheatgrass can be expensive and unsuccessful. To improve the efficiency or reseeding requires the identification of thickspike wheatgrass populations with higher seed production and seed quality. In this study, thickspike wheatgrass populations from the USDA-NPGS collection were evaluated to determine their seed yield and quality performance. Based on the results, eight populations were identified that performed consistently well for each trait and would be potential sources for future thickspike wheatgrass germplasm releases that had improved seed characteristics.
Technical Abstract: Thickspike wheatgrass is widely used for rangeland seeding and revegetation projects in western areas of North America. However, thickspike wheatgrass does not produce high seed yields, and seed is often of poor quality, which often results in high seed prices and poor establishment following seeding. The identification of populations with higher seed yield and seed quality would ameliorate some of the problems associated with thickspike wheatgrass seeding by providing lower cost seed and a higher confidence of successful seedling establishment. The study described herein characterized the performance of 44 populations of thickspike wheatgrass found in the USDA-NPGS collection and the cultivars Bannock and Sodar for seed yield and quality over two production at a site near Eureka, UT, USA. The populations exhibited large variation for each trait evaluated. Eight populations consistently performed well for each trait and would be potential candidate populations for increased seed yield and quality for future germplasm releases of thickspike wheatgrass.