A Database for Triticeae and Avena
II. 20. Hordeum spontaneum C. Koch em. Bacht, collected
in Southern Morocco.
J. L. Molina-Cano and J. Conde, La Cruz del Campo, S.A., Malting &
Brewing Company, Department of Barley Breeding, Apartado 53, Sevilla, Spain.
Hordeum spontaneum C. Koch em. Bacht, the weed-type wild barley
which is now recognized to be the wild ancestor of cultivated forms (Harlan,
1979), has a geographical distribution whose west limit is fixed by some
scattered collection places in Lybia, according to the maps given by Harlan
and Zohary (1966) and Harlan (1968, 1979). However, Briggs (1978) has suggested
its occurrence to be scattered in Tunisia, being more doubtful in Morocco.
In a barley collection trip through Morocco in April 1978, we found
a H. spontaneum population, presumbably cultivated, in a mountain
pass 1800 m. above sea level (Fig. 1). The pass, Tizi-n-Taratine, is located
some 125 km. southeast from Marrakech, in the Djebel Siroua Range. The
place of collection was located close to the road P 32 (Ouarzazate - Taliouine).
The field seemed to be in cultivation because there were conspicuous rows
as the ones produced by ploughing, being the H. spontaneum plants
in a somewhat dense stand.
Fig. 1. Collection site of Hordeum spontaneum
The collected seeds were grown in Sevilla (Southwest Spain) during the
1978-1979 season, together with some other H. spontaneum accessions
kindly supplied by Dr. J. C. Craddock (Beltsville, Maryland, USA). The
presumed H. spontaneum seeds from Morocco, showed a typical wild-type
germination pattern, i.e., their germination extended over some 30 days,
there being, therefore, very marked differences in dormancy among grains.
The greatest difference in brairding date recorded was of some 20 days.
This extreme dormancy was not shown by other common barleys collected in
the same trip.
The spikes of the Moroccan population fragmented at maturity and their
grains fell, i.e., they had brittle rachis as is usual in H. spontaneum.
Comparisons were made during the vegetative phase among the Moroccan
accession and the ones from the World Collection, and there was indeed
high phenotypic similarity between the former and PI 282581 from Israel.
Their spikes are shown in Figure 2: (a) H. spontaneum (Morocco),
(b) H. spontaneum PI 282581 (Israel).
Fig. 2. a, two spikes H. spontaneum (Morocco).
b, two spikes H. spontaneum PI 282581 (Israel).
Fig. 3. a, H. spontaneum (Morocco ). b,
common two-row barley.
Fig. 4. Ventral (a), dorsal (b) and lateral (c)
views of spikelets from H. spontaneum (Morocco).
There was also a striking morphological dissimilarity between the spikes
of H. spontaneum (Morocco) (Figure 3a) and of a common two-row barley
Ventral (a), dorsal (b), and lateral views (c) of the spikelets of H.
spontaneum (Morocco) are shown in Figure 4.
From these findings it is concluded that although further research is
needed, the distribution area of H. spontaneum includes Morocco.
We thank Dr. F. Kh. Bakhteyev (Moscow) for his valuable comments on
the collected plant material.
Harlan, J. R. and D. Zohary. 1966. Distribution of wild wheats and barley.
Harlan, J. R. 1968. On the origin of barley. USDA Agriculture Hand.
Harlan, J. R. 1979. Barley. In: Evolution of Crop Plants. Ed. N. W.
Simmonds, Longman, London. pp. 93-98.
Briggs, D. E. 1978. Barley. Chapman and Hall, London. pp. 81-85.
BGN 10 toc
BGN Main Index