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3 March 2021 Species Identification and Morphological Trait Diversity Assessment in Ryegrass (Lolium spp.) Populations from the Texas Blackland Prairies
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Ryegrass (Lolium spp.) is a troublesome weed in major wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) production regions in the United States. High diversity and adaptive potential are known to contribute to its success as a weed species and also create difficulties in correct species identification in fields. The objective of this research was to characterize diversity for 16 different morphological traits among 56 Lolium populations collected from wheat production fields across the Texas Blackland Prairies region and identify Lolium species based on taxonomic characteristics. Populations were highly diverse (both at inter- and intrapopulation levels) for the traits studied, and a taxonomic comparison with USDA-GRIN reference samples revealed that all the populations were variants of Italian ryegrass [Lolium perenne L. ssp. multiflorum (Lam.) Husnot] with a few offtypes of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) or probable hybrids between the two species. Hierarchical clustering grouped the populations into six clusters based on their similarities for the morphological traits investigated. Principal component analysis showed that the variability for yield traits greatly contributed to the total diversity. Pre-flowering plant height (stage 10 on Feekes scale) was positively correlated with tiller count, shoot biomass, and spike count, but not with total seed count per plant, whereas plant height at maturity (stage 11.3 to 11.4 on Feekes scale) was highly correlated with total seeds per plant. Further, basal node color was positively correlated with plant growth habit, regrowth rate, and leaf color. Leaf blade width was positively correlated with survival to pinoxaden and multiple herbicides, whereas, spike count was negatively correlated with survival to mesosulfuron. The high levels of intra- as well as interpopulation variability documented in this study indicate the potential of this species to rapidly adapt to herbicides and emphasize the need for implementing diverse management tactics, including the integration of harvest weed seed control.

© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Weed Science Society of America.
Aniruddha Maity, Vijay Singh, Matheus Bastos Martins, Paulo José Ferreira, Gerald Ray Smith, and Muthukumar Bagavathiannan "Species Identification and Morphological Trait Diversity Assessment in Ryegrass (Lolium spp.) Populations from the Texas Blackland Prairies," Weed Science 69(3), 379-392, (3 March 2021).
Received: 6 September 2020; Accepted: 22 February 2021; Published: 3 March 2021

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