Morphological variations between populations of Crambe maritima L. in Ireland.
Shane Devlin¹, Angela Mina Vargas¹-2, Kenneth Dinan1 Charles Spillane.¹-2
¹ Genetics and Biotechnology Lab, Department of Botany and Plant Science, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
2 Genetic Heritage Ireland
The shingle beach species Crambe maritima (sea kale) has been declining in Ireland in recent years and is on the Irish Crop Wild Relatives list for conservation attention. We are engaged in the conservation of genetic resources of C. maritima, which is a species that may be a possible future halotolerant crop. Using botanical records possible locations of C.maritima populations in Ireland were visited and a current distribution map of the species in Ireland was established. Measurements of C. maritima seed size showed variation within and between populations, with seeds ranging from ~2mm to ~11mm in length. C. Maritima germination rates were low, with only three seeds germinating in an 18ºC plant growth chamber. None of these seeds survived the transition into pots of sandy soil. Seed buoyancy in fresh and seawater was investigated between different populations, which showed a much higher buoyancy rate of C.maritima seeds in seawater. Seed weight increased in seeds in both fresh and seawater. A section of the C. maritima fruit was examined under a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) which showed large amounts of intracellular cell space aiding in seed buoyancy. Our research provides a basis for ongoing work in our group on conservation and sustainable utilisation of the genetic resources of C. maritima.