Three species of goatgrass (Aegilops L.), the wild relative of wheat, grow naturally in the coastal plains of Israel. The distribution and ecological parameters of Aegilops sharonensis were determined by a field survey, while similar information on the other species was obtained from the BioGIS database. The distribution of plants was soil-specific. Sharon goatgrass (A. sharonensis Eig) is endemic to Israel and southern Lebanon's coastal plains, which have been stabilized with dunes and sandy soils. In contrast, slender goatgrass (A. longissima Schwienf. et Muschl.) grows mainly on sandy loam and the truncate goatgrass (A. speltoides Tausch) grows primarily on heavy alluvial soils. The present 4-month study evaluated the affinity between these 3 Aegilops species, the 3 different types of soils and fertilizer application, in buckets. Interestingly, a significant increase in the number and weight of the spikes were observed in fertilized buckets. We could also find that these 3 species preferred heavy alluvial soil over the sands, regardless of the fertilizer treatment. The data suggested that the population of A. sharonensis was limited to the sandy dunes by urbanization along the coastal plane and aggressive competition with the other species. Their more extended root system may adapt A. sharonensis to the deep and salty groundwater that characterizes dunes. It is suggested to keep representatives of the Israeli Aegilops populations in a nature reserve for protection from extinction.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© The Author(s).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Plant Science