Ecological Distribution, Reproductive Characteristics, and In Situ Conservation of Malus sieversii in Xinjiang, China

in HortScience

As a wild apple species native to central Asia, Malus sieversii (Ledeb.) Roem. is distributed in a wide region covering most of the Tienshan Mountains. Malus sieversii is a useful genetic pool for apple breeding since rich with diversity. In this paper, we first describe the species range of this endangered species. We then describe an in situ reserve that has been established. We also investigated some reproductive characteristics of M. sieversii including pollen germination, seed dormancy, and seed viability. Both stratification and seedcoat removal efficiently released seed dormancy and accelerated seed germination. Pollen germination rate is around 60%. Our data suggest that injurious insects and human activities, rather than reproductive characters, limit the renewal of M. sieversii.

Contributor Notes

M.Y., F.L., H.L., X.Y., B.L., Y.Z., G.Y., and W.S. took part in field investigation and in situ conservation. M.Y., X.Y., and Y.Z. carried out pollen germination studies. M.Y., F.L., and W.Y. participated in seed germination analysis. H.L. drafted the manuscript. H.L. and G.Y. participated in the design of the study. W.S. designed and finalized the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

We thank Kang Liao (Xinjiang Agricultural University) for his cooperation in data analysis. We acknowledged Gayle Volk (USDA ARS -NCGRP) for her carefully improvement of the expression and English language. This study was supported by Agricultural Financial Special Fund of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China (WH000202).

These authors contributed equally to this article.

Corresponding authors. E-mail: yanguorong@eyou.com; songwq@nankai.edu.cn.

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    Distribution of Malus sieversii in Xinjiang. Yili valley occupied a triangle region that distributed with M. sieversii.

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    Different populations of Malus sieversii in Xinjiang. (A) Nalati, Xinyuan, (B) Mo He Er, Gongliu, (C) Emin, and (D) Tuoli.

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    Preserved base of Malus sieversii in Xinyuan County. (A) View of the base. (B) The gate and fence of the garden. (C) Biannual/triennial seedlings transplanted in the garden.

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    Wild apple trees suffered by Agrilus mali. (A) The forest. (B and C) Injured branches.

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    Process of pollen germination. (A) Dried pollen. (B) Swelled pollen. (C) Pollens start to germinate. (D) Elongation of pollen tubes. Bars = 50 μm.

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    Malus sieversii seeds (2 years old) with seedcoats (A) and with seedcoats removed (D). Seeds were stratified at 4 °C for 90 d before germination (B and C) or germinated immediately following seedcoat removal (E and F). Images were taken 5 d after germination (BC and EF).

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