Collecting and regenerating populations of the Allium ampeloprasum complex from Greece Ex situ management of leek crop wild relatives

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Chris Kik
Liesbeth de Groot
Gerlof Bottema
Marc op ’t Hof
Niels de Visser
Peter Willems
Toon van Doormalen
Stelios Samaras
Elias Polemis
Dimitris Tzanoudakis


Collecting expeditions are of prime importance to acquire genetically unique material, as for many crops and their wild relatives, large gaps are present in collections worldwide. This is also true for the three species of the Allium ampeloprasum complex, native to Greece, which are considered as the crop wild relatives of cultivated leek (Allium porrum). Therefore, a collecting expedition was carried out in Greece in 2009. A total of 62 populations of A. ampeloprasum, 20 populations of A. bourgeaui, 19 populations of A. commutatum and three mixed species populations were sampled. The sampled populations were mostly small (less than 50 plants), but sometimes large populations (more than 10,000 plants) were encountered, especially for A. commutatum. Two different reproduction systems were observed in A. ampeloprasum, which is probably due to ploidy level differences. The sexual type was predominantly found along cultivated fields, whereas the asexual type occurred in abandoned fields together with Sarcopoterium spinosum (L). Spach and Cistus spp. Regeneration protocols were developed for these species as the phenology of cultivated leek is different from its wild relatives. Regenerating A. ampeloprasum was more difficult compared to the other two species. Ten years after the collecting mission only one-third of the collected material has been regenerated. This is partly due to the characteristics of the material and partly because the Dutch collectors and the Greek competent national authorities on Access and Benefit Sharing were not able to conclude a specific arrangement, which also involved the commercial use of the material.

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How to Cite
Kik, C., de Groot, L., Bottema, G., op ’t Hof, M., de Visser, N., Willems, P., van Doormalen, T., Samaras, S., Polemis, E. and Tzanoudakis, D. (2021) “Collecting and regenerating populations of the Allium ampeloprasum complex from Greece: Ex situ management of leek crop wild relatives”, Genetic Resources, 2(3), pp. 1-10. doi: 10.46265/genresj.DMAT2233.
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