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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Expression of Rhizomes in Lotus Corniculatus L.

Author
item Beuselinck, Paul

Submitted to: Grassland International Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 10, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Broadleaf birdsfoot trefoil is a popular cross-pollinated, perennial legume cultivated for pasture, or hay and silage production. It does not cause bloat and can be managed to reseed to maintain stands, but significant losses occur when stands decline from disease. Wild birdsfoot trefoil with underground lateral shoot (rhizomes) was discovered in Morocco. This paper rdescribes rhizome morphology and anatomy, the successful transfer of rhizomes from the wild germplasm to U.S. grmplasm, and the inheritance of rhizomes. Rhizomes could help birdsfoot trefoil survive better by storing more energy for growth, escape diseases, and spread within pastures without heavy dependence on seed production. The results of this research are needed to develop the basic understanding required by plant breeders and agronomists to exploit the rhizomes of birdsfoot trefoil for agricultural benefits.

Technical Abstract: Broadleaf birdsfoot trefoil is a popular cross-pollinated, perennial legume cultivated for pasture, or hay and silage production. It does not cause bloat and can be managed to reseed to maintain stands, but significant losses occur when stands decline from disease. Wild birdsfoot trefoil with underground lateral shoot (rhizomes) was discovered in Morocco. The objectives of this research were to: 1) compare the morphology and anatomy of Lotus corniculatus (L.) rhizomes with aerial stems, 2) determine if rhizomes could be successfully transferred to domesticated germplasm, and 3) determine the inheritance of rhizomes. Morphological and anatomical differences between rhizomes and aerial shoots of five L. corniculatus accessions from Morocco are described. Rhizomes were successfully transferred from the Moroccan germplasm to domesticated cultivars. Rhizome initiation and production was variable and may be affected by plant age and size. Full expression of rhizomes was observed under field conditions. Rhizome expression in L. corniculatus is controlled by the single dominant gene, R, but number and length of rhizome production and plant persistence are related. Rhizomes may aid persistence of birdsfoot trefoil, lessening reliance on reseeding to maintain productive stands.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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