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Natural distribution and variability of wild apple (Malus sylvestris) in Belgium

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Abstract:

Wild apple (Malus sylvestris Mill.) is a woody species native to Europe. It is considered to be rare and potentially endangered in a significant part of its natural range. In order to evaluate its current geographic distribution in Belgium, an inventory was conducted throughout the country. The most important results related to habitat characteristics and tree and fruit phenotypic traits. The natural populations were identified using fruit diameter and leaf hairiness. The inventory indicated that, based on reference morphological characters, wild apple is indeed rare and endangered in the northern part of Belgium, but more common in the south. At the growth sites, trees identified as wild apple were mixed with varying proportions of hybrid or cultivated forms, depending on the habitat. This paper presents suggestions for the development of a genetic conservation strategy for wild apple.

Keywords: FRUIT SIZE; HYBRID; LEAF HAIRINESS; MALUS DOMESTICA; MALUS SYLVESTRIS; PHENOTYPIC VARIABILITY

Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 2009-09-01

More about this publication?
  • The Belgian Journal of Botany (now known as Plant Ecology and Evolution) is an international journal open to all fields of plant sciences. Please note, however, that papers restricted to purely nomenclatural matters or to floristical data of only local interest will not be accepted. The Journal appears in one volume of two issues per year. It publishes reviews, original research papers, short notes, letters to the editor, and book reviews. Click here for current issues of this journal
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