Molecular techniques are useful tools for solving taxonomic confusion among species. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) methods were applied for the identification of barnyardgrass, early watergrass, and late watergrass. Total DNA was extracted from 266 accessions, which were collected from different rice growing areas of Turkey. The two primer sets (trn-a and trn-b1, and trn-c and trn-d) specific to a target region of the intergenic spacer between trnT (UGU) and trnL (UAA) and the entire intron region of trnL (UAA), respectively, were used in PCR amplifications. Of the 266 accessions of Echinochloa spp., only eight accessions gave a similar fragment size, which was slightly shorter than 495 bp. The PCR product obtained with the primers trn-a and trn-b1 gave two fragments when EcoRI restriction enzyme was used in barnyardgrass and early watergrass. However, not all accessions of late watergrass were digested with this enzyme. In contrast to EcoRI, the PCR product obtained using the trn-c and trn-d primer set was digested into two fragments by using AluI restriction enzyme in all accessions of late watergrass; whereas, it was not digested in barnyardgrass and early watergrass. This molecular differentiation among barnyardgrass, early watergrass, and late watergrass supports the hypothesis that late watergrass is not a synonym of early watergrass in Turkish accessions.
Nomenclature: Barnyardgrass, Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv., early watergrass, Echinochloa oryzoides (Ard.) Fritsch., late watergrass, Echinochloa oryzicola (Vasing.) Vasing., rice, Oryza sativa L.