Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 455–471 | Cite as

Available ex situ germplasm of the potential rubber crop Taraxacum koksaghyz belongs to a poor rubber producer, T. brevicorniculatum (Compositae–Crepidinae)

  • J. KirschnerEmail author
  • Jan Štěpánek
  • Tomáš Černý
  • Peter De Heer
  • Peter J. van Dijk
Research Article


Cultivation of the Russian dandelion (Taraxacum koksaghyz) as a rubber producing crop was abandoned more than 50 years ago. Recently the interest in the Russian dandelion has renewed, due to the increasing demand for natural rubber, health problems associated with Hevea rubber and the potential vulnerability of the Hevea production system. Morphological examination and genetic analyses demonstrated that all available ex situ germplasm collections of T. koksaghyz belonged to a single triploid apomictic clone that was misidentified as T. koksaghyz. Morphological, taxonomic and AFLP analyses show that this clone belongs to T. brevicorniculatum a species commonly co-occurring with wild populations of T. koksaghyz in the southeastern Kazakhstan. The type specimen of T. brevicorniculatum is no longer extant and we provide a detailed description and typification, and the characteristics that distinguish it from T. koksaghyz. The investigation of literature reports and herbarium collections indicates that T. koksaghyz seed batches in the past were often contaminated with T. brevicorniculatum. We discuss the possible reasons for the worldwide replacement of T. koksaghyz by a single T. brevicorniculatum clone. New introductions in ex situ collections are urgently needed.


Genetic diversity Germplasm contamination Rubber Germplasm banks Taraxacum Taxonomy 



The work was performed within the framework of an EU F.P.7 project no. 212827 (EU-PEARLS), and support was obtained from the research plan of Institute of Botany, Acad. Sci., Czech Republic, no. AV0Z60050516, and the project of Ministry of Education, Czech Republic, no. ME10143. The authors are grateful to Prof. Herwig Teppner of Graz University for a detailed search of the origin of the T. koksaghyz samples in Graz. Thanks are also due to Dr. David Shintani for providing unpublished information and to Ms Marie Brůnová and Ms Věra Matějovičová for invaluable technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Kirschner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jan Štěpánek
    • 1
  • Tomáš Černý
    • 1
  • Peter De Heer
    • 2
  • Peter J. van Dijk
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of BotanyAcademy of SciencesPrůhonice 1Czech Republic
  2. 2.Keygene N.V.WageningenThe Netherlands

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