Habitat and plant diversity of Trifolium tumens (Steven ex M. Bieb.) collected in Azerbaijan and its characterisation and field evaluation in Tasmania, Australia
Hall, EJ and Hughes, SJ and Humphries, AW and Corkrey, R, Habitat and plant diversity of Trifolium tumens (Steven ex M. Bieb.) collected in Azerbaijan and its characterisation and field evaluation in Tasmania, Australia, Crop & Pasture Science, 64, (4) pp. 374-387. ISSN 1836-0947 (2013) [Refereed Article]
Trifolium tumens (Talish clover) is a perennial legume species not previously domesticated for use in world agriculture. It is native to areas of the eastern Mediterranean, Caucasus and mountainous areas of the Middle East with a warm temperate or cool Mediterranean environment. The species has been identified by pasture researchers in Australia as a having sufficient drought and grazing tolerance to fill a gap created by the lack of a well adapted perennial legume for dryland pasture systems across low rainfall (450 to 750 mm annual average rainfall), temperate regions of Australia. The need to expand available genetic diversity of this species resulted in a germplasm collecting mission to Azerbaijan in 2004. The successful mission collected seed from 35 populations of T. tumens across 7 agro ecological zones, including 5 climatic zones. This collection increased the number of accessions held in ex situ local and international collections from 21 to 56. The range of adaptation and frequency of the collection of T. tumens was far greater than expected with accessions found at altitudes ranging from 12 to 1700 m above sea level, in soils with pH (1:5 H20) ranging between 5.0 and 9.0 and rainfall varying from 300 to 1300 mm. T. tumens was found growing alongside a diverse range of companion species in heavily grazed lowland pastures up to lightly grazed alpine meadows. This material has been characterised by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), with promising accessions contributing to a breeding program to develop a commercial cultivar adapted to temperate environments (<750 mm rainfall).