, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 461-465

Single-flowered vetch (Vicia articulata Hornem.): A relic crop in Italy

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Single-flowered vetch (Vicia articulata Hornem.), a crop native of the Mediterranean area, is widespread mainly in south Europe, in west Asia and Australia for forage, green manure and human food. In Italy this crop was still cultivated in the 1950s but, later, no records concerning its cultivation were available. This strongly suggested to place V. articulata among the Italian crop species that disappeared in the 20th century. In the course of a collecting expedition in Sardinia, a relic population, mistaken for lentil, was found. This population has been characterised from a botanical, nutritional and cytological point of view. V. articulata appears to be lower in nutritional quality than lentil. However, within the framework of a sustainable agriculture, V. articulata could find interesting opportunities. In fact, its role in soil conservation and rescue of marginal areas could be interesting, as well as its potentialities as a source of useful genes in breeding programmes.