High priority taxa

Following taxa (5 out of 27) were found to be high priority taxa to collect:

  • A. geniculata
  • A. juvenalis
  • A. mutica
  • A. peregrina
  • T. monococcum subsp. aegilopoides

See all priorities list here

Identified gaps for Triticum and Aegilops genepools

(see downloads)

We found data for 23 wild Aegilops species, 1 wild Triticum species (T. urartu), and 3 Triticum infraspecific taxa (T. monococcum subsp. aegilopoides, T. turgidum subsp. dicoccoides, T. turgidum subsp. dicoccon), accounting to a total of 27 taxa for analysis. Wheat wild relatives were classified according to their closeness to the cultivated species, as Maxted and Kell (2009) suggest:

Primary wild relatives
Secondary wild relatives
Tertiary wild relatives
T. aestivum subsp. aestivum cultivars and races
All Aegilops species
Some remote members of the tribe Tritiaceae
T. aestivum subsp. compactum
T. aestivum subsp. macha
T. aestivum subsp. spelta
T. aestivum subsp. sphaerococcum
T. monococcum subsp. aegilopoides
T. monococcum subsp. monococcum
T. timopheevii subsp. armeniacum
T. timopheevii subsp. durum
T. timopheevii subsp. timopheevii
T. turgidum subsp. carthlicum
T. turgidum subsp. dicoccoides
T. turgidum subsp. dicoccon
T. turgidum subsp. durum
T. turgidum subsp. paleocolchicum
T. turgidum subsp. polonicum
T. turgidum subsp. turanicum
T. turgidum subsp. turgidum
T. urartu
T. zhukovskyi

The analysis dataset (download)contained 7,392 observations, with 2,241 (29%) being herbarium specimens and 5,391 (71%) being genebank accessions. The average number of total samples per taxon was 256 (standard deviation of 397), indicating that available data is relatively abundant, although it is concentrated in certain taxa (i.e. A. biuncialis [823], A. cylindrical [951], A. neglecta [616], A. triuncialis [1,718], A. tauschii [677], T. urartu [546]). Other taxa such as A. geniculata (2), and A. peregrina (3) and T. monococcum subsp. aegilopoides (2), along with others, present a very limited sampling and/or data availability and thus need further characterization and sampling for assessing a reliable ecogeographic evaluation on them.

The gap analysis of the Triticum and Aegilops genepools showed that there are 5 taxa that are either underrepresented or not represented in any way in genebanks out of the 27 taxa under analysis and these taxa were therefore flagged as high priority species. All these taxa presented only 10 or less data points (sum of herbarium and germplasm) indicating that these species in particular need to be further collected (i.e. A. geniculata, A. peregrina, A. juvenalis, A. mutica, T. monococcum subsp. aegilopoides). Species A. uniaristata, A. ventricosa, and A. cylindrica were flagged as medium priority species as they appear to be not conserved enough. Species T. turgidum subsp. dicoccon, A. bicornis, A. crassa, A. kotschyi, A. caudata, and A. triuncialis were found to be relatively well conserved, so they don’t require a further conservation action, along with T. turgidum subsp. dicoccoides, A. longissima, A. vavilovii, A. sharonensis, A. searsii, A. columnaris, A. umbellulata, A. comosa, A. speltoides, A. neglecta, T. urartu, A. tauschii, and A. biuncialis, which were found as being very well represented ex-situ and thus do not require any further ex-situ conservation action.

Potential sampling richness

GE View in Google Earth

Potential sampling zones

GE View in Google Earth

Titriticum and Aegilops high priority taxa were found to be distributed in small spots in Spain and Turkey. Zones in the figures above are those in which the species is likely to exist and no genebank accessions have been collected. The greatest sampling-richness was found in the south of Spain.

Brief description of data used in the analysis

The table below shows the number of records (herbarium, germplasm, total) used per species for the Triticum and Aegilops genepools gap analysis.

Genebank accessions
Herbarium samples
Aegilops geniculata
Aegilops juvenalis
Aegilops mutica
Aegilops peregrina
Aegilops bicornis
Aegilops caudata
Aegilops crassa
Aegilops kotschyi
Aegilops triuncialis
Aegilops cylindrica
Aegilops uniaristata
Aegilops ventricosa
Aegilops biuncialis
Aegilops columnaris
Aegilops comosa
Aegilops longissima
Aegilops neglecta
Aegilops searsii
Aegilops sharonensis
Aegilops speltoides
Aegilops tauschii
Aegilops umbellulata
Aegilops vavilovii
Triticum monococcum subsp. aegilopoides
Triticum turgidum subsp. dicoccon
Triticum turgidum subsp. dicoccoides
Triticum urartu

Species’ taxonomy was reviewed using Maxted and Kell (2009) as a first stage, the GRIN taxonomical review in second place, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew taxonomy database. After cross-checking and correcting both synonyms and orthography of the species’ names, a thorough georeferencing process is carried out to obtain a spatially explicit database containing as many records as possible for each species. After this, records outside continental boundaries were deleted and a final dataset was produced for analyses.

These are the 51 different collections from which data were readily available:

  1. Arizona State University Vascular Plant Herbarium
  2. Bundesamt fuer Naturschutz / Netzwerk Phytodiversitaet Deutschland
  3. California State University, Chico
  4. CONN GBIF data
  5. CSU Herbarium
  6. Database Schema for UC Davis [Herbarium Labels]
  7. Dirección General de Investigación, Desarrollo Tecnológico e Innovación de la Junta de Extremadura(DGIDTI): HSS
  8. Dpto de Botánica, Ecología y Fisiología Vegetal (herbario_cofc).Facultad de Ciencias.Universidad de Córdoba
  9. EUNIS
  10. EURISCO, The European Genetic Resources Search Catalogue
  11. Herbario de la Universidad de Salamanca: SALA
  12. Herbario de la Universidad de Sevilla, SEV
  13. Herbarium GJO
  14. Herbarium of Oskarshamn (OHN)
  15. Herbarium Specimens of Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo Pref., Japan
  16. Herbarium Universitat Ulm
  17. Herbarium W
  18. Herbarium Willing
  19. Herbarium WU
  20. Hortus Botanicus Sollerensis Herbarium (FBonafè)
  21. Impetus – Herbarium Hamburgense
  22. Institut Botanic de Barcelona, BC
  23. Inventaire national du Patrimoine naturel (INPN)
  24. IPK Genebank
  25. Israel Nature and Parks Authority
  26. Jardín Botánico de Córdoba: Herbarium COA
  27. Lund Botanical Museum (LD)
  28. Missouri Botanical Garden
  29. NMNH Botany Collections
  30. Nordic Genetic Resources
  31. Observations du Conservatoire botanique national du Bassin parisien.
  32. Real Jardin Botanico (Madrid), Vascular Plant Herbarium (MA)
  33. SANT herbarium vascular plants collection
  34. SysTax
  35. The Deaver Herbarium, Northern Arizona University
  36. The System-wide Information Network for Genetic Resources (SINGER)
  37. Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum
  38. UA Herbarium
  39. United States National Plant Germplasm System Collection
  40. Universidad de Almería, HUAL
  41. Universidad de Extremadura, UNEX
  42. Universidad de Granada, Herbario: GDA
  43. Universidad de Granada, Herbario: GDAC
  44. Universidad de Málaga: MGC-Cormof
  45. Universidad de Oviedo. Departamento de Biologí­a de Organismos y Sistemas: FCO
  46. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Dpto. Biologí­a Vegetal, Banco de Germoplasma
  47. University and Jepson Herbaria DiGIR provider
  48. USDA PLANTS Database
  49. USU-UTC Specimen Database
  50. Vascular Plant Collection – University of Washington Herbarium (WTU)
  51. Vascular Plant Herbarium, Oslo (O)


Climatic niche model for A. bicornis
Climatic niche model for A. biuncialis
Climatic niche model for A. caudata
Climatic niche model for A. columnaris
Climatic niche model for A. comosa
Climatic niche model for A. crassa
Climatic niche model for A. cylindrica
Climatic niche model for A. kotschyi
Climatic niche model for A. longissima
Climatic niche model for A. neglecta
Climatic niche model for A. searsii
Climatic niche model for A. sharonensis
Climatic niche model for A. speltoides
Climatic niche model for A. tauschii
Climatic niche model for A. triuncialis
Climatic niche model for A. umbellulata
Climatic niche model for A. uniaristata
Climatic niche model for A. vavilovii
Climatic niche model for A. ventricosa
Climatic niche model for T. turgidum subsp. dicoccon
Climatic niche model for T. turgidum subsp. dicoccoides
Climatic niche model for T. urartu
Predicted species richness under current climatic conditions
Predicted species richness under future climatic conditions
Changes on predicted species richness due to climate change
Sampling density (200km cell size) for germplasm accessions
Sampling density (200km cell size) for herbarium samples
Conservation priorities list for Triticum and Aegilops genepool
Dataset used for this analysis

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14 Comments to “Triticum and Aegilops genepool”

  1. Tom Payne says:

    Because Aegilops geniculata is under represented (n=2), you may wish to try the synonyms Ae. ovata and Ae. neglecta. GRIN lists several hundred accessions, while Michael van Slageren’s thesis lists 2800 herbaria specimens.

  2. Tom Payne says:

    Aegilops mutica was changed to Amblyopyrum muticum in the mid-1990’s.

  3. Tom Payne says:

    Aegilops peregrina has also been known as Ae. variabilis and Triticum kotschyi. It is situated in the eastern Mediterranean predominately in Palestine and Israel. van Slageren lists 425 herbarium specimens he examined.

    FYI, the reference is:

    Wild wheats: a monograph of Aegilops L. and Amblyopyrum (Jaub. & Spach) Eig (Poaceae). M. W. van Slageren. 1994. Wageningen Agricultural University Papers 94-7. 512 pages.

  4. Tom Payne says:

    Andy, in your text you mention that Ae. tauschii is well represented in ex situ collections, and hence does not require further extended conservation. In fact, researchers have during the past 30 years been utilizing this species extensively in the creation of synthetic hexaploid resynthesized wheats. Ae. tauschii represents the D genome donor for BAD hexaploid (bread) wheat. By crossing durum wheat (BA) with tauschii, we can use two species to bridge to a third (Triticum aestivum). Hence, here has been intense interest in Ae. tauschii. Rather than assuming that it is well conserved, could you run a finer analysis to deter which ecologies are under reprepresented for Ae. tauschii? Such an analysis would be very, very interesting to the global wheat breeding community.

  5. Tom Payne says:

    You seem to have the correct taxonomy for Ae. juvenalis, and it does appear to be a rare species. van Slageren lists 76 herbaria specimens in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Syria.

    I assume that you are not picking up some of the van Slageren herbaria specimens because they may not be geo-referenced. I see that they do have location descriptions. I could scour the specimens for textual details, that could be used for georeference estimates, if that would be useful (for all Triticum & Aegilops speciies, not only for juvenalis).

  6. Tom Payne says:

    Related to my comments about Aegilops tauschii, greater detailed scrutiny should be made towards the progenitor species of wheat, particularly to determine if geographic gaps in current and potential range collection sites exist. The taxa that should be include are: A. tauschii, Triticum turgidum dicoccum, Triticum turgidum dicoccoides, Triticum monococcum, Triticum urartu, and Aegilops speltoides.

  7. Tom Payne says:

    The first table should be changed to list:
    1. Cultivated species
    2. Primary progenitor species
    3. Secondary species
    4. Tertiary species

  8. Julian says:


    Many thanks for this useful information and feedback. Fixing taxonomical issues is fundamental in order to improve the accuracy of our predictions. In the other hand, I think we have access to the to van Slageren thesis, but was wondering if you have such data already digitized? if so, would you be able to send it to any of us (either Nora or me)? (via the contact us link above in this page).

    We are seeking for additional herbarium data, but those are most of the times unaccessible, specially when samples come from herbariums in the mid-East. Sometimes they dont even have collection site details, so they are particularly difficult to assess… and other times there’s no evidence of a correct identification of the specimen. I wonder if you have access to any of those data and are able to send it to us?

  9. Jon Raupp says:

    As curators of a small, working gene bank, we were very interested in learning the findings of your study. However, it was interesting to learn that we maintain many accessions of several of the species that you deem underrepresented, namely Ae. geniculata, T. monococcum aegilopoides, and Ae. peregrina. Also interesting it the omission of T. timopheevii armeniacum and T. monococcum monococcum from your survey. I have downloaded the database and it will be interesting to correlate our collection with your data. I am always interested in finding other gene banks that maintain the same collections that we do.

    Echoing Tom’s comments, you need to search several synonyms in different databases. I know for a fact that the USDA has at least 883 accessions of T. monococcum aegilopoides listed under that taxon, some 335 should have shown up in the SINGER database, and IPK as 101, but they are listed as T. baeoticum. In addition, there are 244 in the Kyoto Germ Plasm Bank.

    I suggest that herbarium specimens should not be used to assess accession availability. My experience is that these lines have been dried and not maintained properly, and the seed probably would not germinate if you tried.

    A couple years ago, I did an exaustive search of the accessions maintained by the USDA, SINGER, IPK, Kyoto, and the VIR in addition to the WGGRC gene bank. I would be glad to share those tallys with you.

    In addition, Helmut Kneupfler of the IPK has done an exhaustive summary, Triticeae Genetic Resources in ex situ Genebank Collections, which might be of great interest to your study.

  10. admin says:

    Dear Jon,

    As Tom and you have noted, an exhaustive taxonomy review is urgently needed to re-run the analysis process. This surely will give us new insights on how well is Triticum genepool conserved ex situ and where in the world we could potentially find diversity not conserved yet. However, this new results could be improved using more georeferenced (or at least data with potential to be georeferenced), this means we need further access to data.

    Moreover, thank you for comment and suggestions, they will be taken into account!

  11. Julian says:

    We look forward to receiving these data, Jon. Should you send it via the “Contact us” link, and we will do the rest. If georreferencing is needed then we will work on that to get the major quantity of data we can. This is very interesting information.

  12. Evren Cabi says:

    Hi everybody, As you known that Turkey is main diversity areas for tribe Triticeae. My PhD thesis is the Taxonomic revision of the tribe Triticeae in Turkey. Nowadays I am trying to complete and set up my results related my thesis. I obtained over 1000 georeferenced collection data (presence data) related the members of this tribe throughout Turkey. I can share my GPS locations which indicate the presence data of species in Turkey in a colloborative study. By the way the list given. By the way Ae. geniculata is common in its distribution area you can be sure that it is not one of the taxa which should be given highest priority. Ae mutica which is evaluated under the genus Amblyopyrum is found only in Turkey and Armenia. But main distribution center is Turkey. It can be evaluated as conservation priority species. Ae uniaristata, Ae. comosa var. subventricosa, A. comosa var. comosa, Ae. juvenalis, Ae vaviloviii, Ae peregrina, Ae kotchyii, Triticum dicoccoides, Triticum timopheevii var. araraticum should be given the highest priority. I can also give some information for the other genera found in this tribe such as Elymus, Thinopyrum constitute the tertiary gene pool for wheat.

  13. Evren Cabi says:

    I think that you need to search several synonyms in different databases. For example Triticum monococcum subsp. aegilopoides. You can not obtain so much data under this combination. This combination of this taxon is the result of latest treatment for Triticum done by Slageren. You should look for this species under Triticum baeoticum or T. boeticum. Anyway I am ready for every kind of help for Turkey. Nowadays I am writing a paper related the Ae vavilovii in Turkey. This link includes one of the papers produced during the project and gives some information about the status of Aegilops species in Turkey. shttp://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/botany/issues/bot-09-33-6/bot-33-6-6-0905-18.pdf. I would like to thank also Dr. N Maxted for his valuable publications which would be helpful for me

  14. Michiel van Slageren says:

    Dear discussion,

    Must confess to be chuffed at the use of my 1994 Aegilops monograph. I wrote it exactly to be used in discusions like the one above. So thanks to you all. But now it comes: you need to read it carefully to keep the species separate from each other. The databases that are used in the gap analysis are, of course, contradicting each other, giving rise to the confusions that hamper such a gap analysis…..

    Taxonomy is a wonderful science because it forces you to unpick tangles and present an unambiguous solution. I hope to have done that, even though the old discussions seems to have remained: Trit and Aeg – separate or united? Amblyopyrum is even less accepted, although I thought to have argued this good enough. And the T-genome of Amb. muticum is not in any wheat to be found, so no argument to keep it under Triticum.

    Some observations:
    1- I am somewhat astonished as to the conclusions on high priority Aegilops taxa that should be collected, versus medium and low (priorities list at top). What an widespread, weedy tetraploid like Ae. geniculata does there is a mystery to me. You find this everywhere, often in carpets, and often in weedy conditions (roadsides, margins of cultivation, etc. anywhere where there is some degree of disturbance). Most, though, will be called “Ae. ovata”.
    Ae. juvenalis and Amblyo muticum are well deserving of their place, but again Ae. peregrina is not rarer than Ae. kotschyi (listed low priority) – and this while kotschyi is the more “deserty” and rarer one of this “twin species” (sometimes united). T. mono aegilopoides is also widespread in Turkey, Greece and Balkans – not a priority in my view. But timo-armeniacum is!

    There are several comments to individual remarks, but I doubt if this helps us out once and for all:

    2 – Tom Payne mixes up Ae. peregrina – variabilis and T. kotschyi. Two species here: Ae. peregrina and Ae. kotschyi. For both combinations in Triticum exist if one wishes.
    Please remember that Eig’s subdivision of Ae. “variabilis” (= peregrina) in 1929 was based on field grow-outs in Jerusalem, NOT on the variation as you will find it in nature. His treatment is rubbish because artificial. Only an awnless (or short-awned) form can be seen, next to a typical one that looks very like Ae. kotschyi. See pp. 260-261 to separate them.

    3 – Tom (sorry…) also mixes Ae. geniculata – ovata and Ae. neglecta. For accessions in databases: ovata = geniculata, and triaristata = neglecta. The complicated nomenclature is explained in my book for the diehards.

    4 – Evren is right to point out confusion on aegilopoides-boeoticum. Actually my recap (I’m working on it at the moment) is, I hoped, providing the clarity you need: NO name has priority outside its rank. So the “aegilopoides taxon” has three different names on three ranks:

    species: T. baeoticum (original spelling from Boissier and should be followed) – many as “boeoticum”
    subspecies: T. monococcum subsp. aegilopoides
    variety: T. monococcum var. lasiorrhachis

    This is not to show off, but a precise indication, taylored to your opinion of the rank. And that varies quite a bit…

    5 – On Ae. juvenalis. I believe this to be in fact an accidental natural hybrid of Ae. crassa (DM) x possibly Ae. triuncialis (UC) with subsequent loss of the C -genome. Hence its erratic distribution. See my chapter 6.1.1 and 10.9 under note 2. Opinion is not 100% agreeing.

    6 – On Ae. tauschii (or Triticum aegilops, when in Triticum). This is the D-genome and often studied. Many want to see lots of subtaxa in it, but the herbarum evidence points quite to the contrary. I found even the case for the stout forms of var. strangulata not holding up in this respect. I also think the distribution into China is essentially as a weed with the silk route.

    7 – On collecting priorities (aka filling the gaps) I would point to the following:
    – Section Sitopsis: S-genomic ones: all except Ae. speltoides (common). The others are all rare AND the unaltered state of the B-genome of wheat. So go after Ae. bicornis, longissima, sharonensis – Ae. searsii less so as it is widespread in Jordan, Syria, possibly Israel too.
    – Section Comopyrum: Ae. comosa and Ae. uniaristata. Undercollected because of the Balkan wars of the 1990s
    – incidental others: juvenalis, crassa, vavilovii (but reasonably common in Jordan)
    – D-genome tauschii. I could not find much in Iran in 1992, the homeland of this one. Important for bread wheat (BAD), of course.

    8 – As James Mac Key wrote many years ago: “wheat is the A-genome and its allopolyploids”. Perfectly correct this. But then I do disagree with his addition of the Triticales to it… This will be argued in the future.

    Hope this helps.

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