Eco-geographical distribution of lactuca saligna natural populations in israel

Alex Beharav, Roi Ben-David, Ivana Doležalová, Aleš Lebedab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Crops can be drastically improved by effective utilization of the immense variation in genetic resources for resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses possessed by natural populations of wild relatives. To protect Israel's and the world's lettuce crop, samples of seeds from 562 plants that morphologically seemed to be the wild species Lactuca saligna L. (least lettuce, willow-leaf lettuce) were collected from 41 localities, representing different climatic and edaphic environments throughout Israel. Searching and collecting trips were conducted in September-October of 2004-2006. L. saligna was recorded throughout Israel except for desert areas (e.g., Negev and Judean deserts) and extreme environmental/soil conditions (Dead Sea area). L. saligna was recorded at various altitudes (10 to 1277 m asl) and different habitats and soil types. In all, the taxonomic status of 214 of the accessions was morphologically validated as L. saligna during multiplication of 220 accessions in the greenhouse. In rosette formation and leaf morphology, different morphotypes of L. saligna were distinguished in the territory of Israel. Individual populations varied in size and morphological uniformity/heterogeneity. Natural infection by diseases was not recorded in collected populations of L. saligna. We believe that the unique collection of this wild lettuce could carry previously unknown morphological and genetic variation, including resistance against pathogens and pests, hence could be suitable for further detailed research and exploitation in lettuce breeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-206
Number of pages12
JournalIsrael Journal of Plant Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A. Beharav thanks the Research Authority and Faculty of Science and Science Education, University of Haifa, Israel, for financial support for collection of the unique germplasm. A. Lebeda and I. Doležalová thank the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic for financial support (project MSM 6198959215) for the germplasm multiplication, validation, and characterization, including the stay of A. Lebeda in Israel in 2007. The authors wish to thank Dr. Tomáš Pavlíček, Mr. Michael Margulis, Ms. Souad Khalifa, Ms. Naela Meladi, and Ms. Yan Jin (University of Haifa), and Dr. Milan Kitner, Mrs. Drahomíra Vondráková, and Ms. Alžběta Novotná (Palacký University in Olomouc) for their technical assistance.


  • Biodiversity
  • Disease occurrence
  • Habitats
  • Least lettuce
  • Plant germplasm
  • Resistance breeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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