Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 20, 2012
Publication Date: February 3, 2013
Citation: Ma, Y., Staub, J.E., Larson, S.R., Robbins, M.D., Johnson, P.G. 2013. The potential value of Festuca valesiaca for use on Great Basin Rangelands. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. Book, Pg.23. Technical Abstract: Fine-leaved Festuca valesiaca possesses varied abiotic tolerances and is widely distributed on Asian rangelands. However, its performance in the western United States has not been investigated. Therefore, F. valesiaca accessions were evaluated for performance and their relatedness to species in the F. ovina complex. Twelve F. valesiaca accessions from Kyrgyzstan and eight commercial cultivars were transplanted as spaced plants at Blue Creek, Utah, for evaluation. Plant height and width, total biomass, and seed weight and number were evaluated from 2009 to 2011. Amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) with 10 primer combinations were used to evaluate the genetic relatedness between F. valesiaca and the F. ovina complex. For some traits, F. valesiaca accessions (e.g., PI 659923, PI 659932, W6 30575, and W6 30588) were equal to or better than commercial controls and possessed an abundance of small seeds. Seed production was significantly correlated with total biomass (r2=0.84, P=0.001), plant height (r2=0.58, P=0.05), and plant vigor (r2=0.83, P=0.001). Principal component analysis suggested that these accessions were distinct from the majority of Festuca accessions examined. Neighbor-joining cluster analysis defined four distinct groups: F. idahoensis (Group 1), F. rubra (Group 2), F. ovina and F. valesiaca (Group 3), and F. trachyphylla (Group 4). These relationships were confirmed by genetic structure analysis, indicating that F. valesiaca is closely related to F. ovina. Given their performance, F. valesiaca accessions PI 659923, PI 659932, W6 30575, and W6 30588 should be considered for plant improvement.