Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 493–504 | Cite as

Lotus ornithopodioides L. a potential annual pasture legume species for Mediterranean dryland farming systems

  • A. Loi
  • B. J. Nutt
  • G. A. Sandral
  • A. Franca
  • L. Sulas
  • R. J. Yates
  • F. Gresta
  • M. F. D’Antuono
  • J. G. Howieson
Research Article


Twenty-three populations of Lotus ornithopodioides L., collected from different regions of the Mediterranean basin, were investigated for their ecological and agronomic traits in Western Australia. Great variability was found between and within populations for flowering time, forage and seed yield. Flowering time ranged between 75 and 120 days, dry matter production from 2.8 to 4.3 t ha−1 and seed yield from 284 to 684 kg ha−1. Other important traits such as non-shattering pods and hard seed were taken into account during the selection to assure an easy seed harvesting and legume persistence in the targeted environments. The high level of hard seed recorded in early winter, associated to the low seedling regeneration, indicates that L. ornithopodioides is best suited to ley cropping systems. Elite lines of L. ornithopodioides characterized by early flowering time, high seed yield and non-shattering pods were selected. Two of them, LOR02.1 and LOR03.2, showed dry matter higher than 4.0 t ha−1 and seed yield around 700 kg ha−1 resulting the lines with most potential for Mediterranean farming systems. The results encourage the exploitation of L. ornithopodioides germplasm to develop a new annual self-reseeding legume resource for Mediterranean farming systems for both forage production and crop rotation uses.


Dry matter Earliness Hard seed Ley farming systems Lotus ornithopodioides Nutritive value Seed yield 



The authors would like thank the staff at the DAFWA Medina Research Station and the DAFWA Northam Office and Shenton Park Field Station (UWA). We also acknowledge Mrs Regina Carr at the Centre for Rhizobium Studies (CRS), Murdoch University for assistance with the rhizobial support. This work was associated with the National Annual Pasture Legume Improvement Program (NAPLIP). The Grains Research and Development Corporation and Australian Wool Innovation funded NAPLIP.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Loi
    • 1
    • 3
  • B. J. Nutt
    • 1
    • 3
  • G. A. Sandral
    • 2
  • A. Franca
    • 4
  • L. Sulas
    • 4
  • R. J. Yates
    • 1
    • 3
  • F. Gresta
    • 5
  • M. F. D’Antuono
    • 1
  • J. G. Howieson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Agriculture and Food Western AustraliaSouth PerthAustralia
  2. 2.Wagga Wagga Agricultural InstituteNew South Wales Department of Primary IndustriesWagga WaggaAustralia
  3. 3.Division of Science, Centre for Rhizobium StudiesMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  4. 4.Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto per il Sistema Produzione Animale in Ambiente Mediterraneo (CNR-ISPAAM)SassariItaly
  5. 5.Dipartimento di AgrariaUniversità Mediterranea di Reggio CalabriaReggio CalabriaItaly

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