The genus Secale, a member of Tribe Hordeae, is relatively very small but the number of ‘good’ species recognized and the basis of their classification are not unequivocally known as yet. Körnicke (1885) considered a single species, cereale, and recognized its four varieties on basis of ear colour and shape. The socalled two-species system was perhaps initiated by Ascherson and Graebner (1901) who mentioned sylvestre, an annual with completely fragile rachis, and cereale- annual, cultivated and with tough rachis. Vavilov (1917, 1925) collected during his famous expeditions an enormous amount of material and he had recognized four species, namely cereale (further classifying into 24 botanical varieties), montanum,africanum and fragile (synonymous with sylvestre,as severally pointed out by E. Schiemann) on the basis of both vegetative and ear characters. Figure 14 shows the distribution of these species as given by Vavilov (1925), and the supposed two centers of origin. Grossheim (1924) first described vavilovii,an annual wild species, recently shown to be having a tendency towards cleistogamy (Kranz, 1957). It may also be mentioned here that Schiemann (1932, 1948) placed vavilovii under either fragile,or possibly montanum.
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