Register of Australian Herbage Plant Cultivars. A. Grasses. 18. Wheatgrass. Thinopyrum ponticum (Podp.) Z.-W. Liu & R. R.-C. Wang (tall wheatgrass) cv. Dundas

Smith, K.F.; Kelman, W.M.

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 40(1): 119-120


Accession: 003543750

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Thinopyrum ponticum [Elymus elongatus] cv. Dundas is a synthetic variety derived from 50 parental genotypes selected from a spaced plant nursery containing 2000 plants of cv. Tyrrell and 400 each of the US cultivars Largo and San Jose. Fifteen plants with the desired leafy and productive phenotype were polycrossed and half-sib progeny sown in both a saline and non-saline environment during 1991. Plants were assessed for seasonal productivity, leafiness, height, tiller density, anthesis date, crown area, disease resistance and stem digestibility over 3 years, 1990-93. Following evaluation, 50 plants were selected as the final set of parental genotypes in 1993. Dundas is a summer active, perennial grass with an erect growth habit reaching 1.5-2 m under favourable conditions. It can be distinguished from Tyrrell by its shorter plant height and smaller number of reproductive tillers. Dundas and Tyrrell flowered 3-4 days later than Largo and San Jose at Hamilton. Plants of Dundas are more leafy and have more vigorous early season growth than Tyrrell. Dundas was sown at 4 sites in Victoria; 3 were in saline environments (Glenthompson, Kerang, Woorndoo) and the fourth (Hamilton) was on clay prone to waterlogging. Dundas established well at all sites with seedling densities 11-26% greater than Tyrrell. Significantly greater dry matter yields of Dundas compared with Tyrrell were noted at Woorndoo (43% higher in January). At the high saline site Kerang dry matter yields of Dundas (0.7 t/ha) were significantly greater than Sirosa phalaris (0.4 t/ha) but the 21% increase in dry matter yield of Dundas compared to Tyrrell was non-significant. Dundas is expected to be a suitable replacement for Tyrrell in both saline and non-saline environments in southern Australia.