Thursday, September 19, 2019
Genealogy of Alfalfa :: Plants Environment Planting History Essays
Genealogy of Alfalfa In this paper on the genealogy of alfalfa I will begin by telling you about the background and history of alfalfa in the United States. Secondly, I will tell you about the different sources of alfalfa germplasm. Next, I will talk about different studies and experiments that have been done to diversify the breeds of alfalfa. Finally, I will tell you about the genetic makeup of alfalfa and what distinguishes it from other popular plants. Alfalfa otherwise known today as the Ã¢â¬Å"Queen of ForageÃ¢â¬ is thought to have originated in Iran over 2,400 years ago. It was the only forage crop that was cultivated before recorded history therefore the history of its origin isnÃ¢â¬â¢t one-hundred percent accurate. The first attempt to grow alfalfa in the United States was recorded in Georgia in the year 1736. The introduction of alfalfa to California came first by Spanish settlers and later by Europeans. The Europeans were headed to California during the gold rush. They obtained alfalfa seed when sailing around South America. Alfalfa flourished in the western states because of its favorable climate. Because alfalfa has a good yield, is palatable, and has a high value of nutrition. Word spread and so did the planting. Alfalfa then spread eastward to the Midwestern states. The distribution of alfalfa to states east of the Mississippi river was a failure due to its acid soils, plant disease, and humidity. Most of the genetic diversities of alfalfa come from nine germplasm sources. These nine germplasm sources are M. falcate, M. varia, Turkistan, Flemish, Chilean, Peruvian, Indian, and African. According to Barnes, Bingham, Murphy, Hunt, Beard, Skrdla, and Teubar Ã¢â¬Å"M. falcata has orange-yellow flowers and an early fall dormancy therefore it is known to have a heavy first cutting and a light second cutting. It also has some bacterial wilt and foliar disease resistances. Strains were usually classified as M. varia because they had variegated flower colors and variable pod shapes. M. varia sources were introduced to South Dakota in 1907 as seed from a single hybrid plant found in Russia. These sources are winter hardy, more vigorous than M. falcata and are susceptible to bacterial wilt. Turkistan alfalfas have been described as poor seed producers, susceptible to leaf diseases, and resistant to many insects and crown and root disease. They vary in winter hardiness from moderately hardy to hardy.
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