Assessment of phenotypic diversity in bitter vetch (Vicia ervilia (L.) Willd.) populations

  • Iraklis Livanios
  • Efstathia Lazaridi
  • Penelope J. Bebeli
Research Article


Knowledge of populations’ diversity contributes to the optimization of their description and conservation. Characterization and estimation of diversity of neglected and underutilized crops would encourage their re-introduction and utilization. Therefore, the aim of this study was to characterize 49 populations of bitter vetch on the basis of 24 agro-morphological traits and estimate phenotypic diversity among and within populations. A wide diversity was present in the collection for the majority of traits analyzed (mean total phenotypic diversity, HT = 0.52). The mean phenotypic diversity among populations studied (GST) was 0.31. Most traits related to reproductive phase had GST ≥ 0.5, while for most traits high intra-population variation (ΗS) was detected. No significant differences among populations’ mean phenotypic diversity values (0.27 ≤ \(\bar{H}p\) ≤ 0.47) were observed. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) classified the populations into eight distinct groups, mainly due to traits related to reproductive phase and seed yield. The high phenotypic populations’ diversity observed, showed that ex situ conserved populations of bitter vetch constitute an underutilized gene pool that could be re-introduced in cultivated systems and/or utilized by breeding programs and revealed a need for conservation of bitter vetch landraces that are still cultivated.


Vicia ervilia Characterization Genetic resources Inter-population diversity Intra-population diversity Landrace Neglected crop 

Supplementary material

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iraklis Livanios
    • 1
  • Efstathia Lazaridi
    • 1
  • Penelope J. Bebeli
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant Breeding and Biometry, Department of Crop ScienceAgricultural University of AthensAthensGreece

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