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Ukr. Bot. J. 2018, 75(4): 373–383
Vegetation Science, Ecology, Conservation

Armoracia macrocarpa (Brassicaceae) in the Ukrainian part of the Danube valley

Dubyna D.V.1, Zhmud O.I.2

The publication presents the results of studies of patterns of current distribution, ecologo-cenotic and biological peculiarities of Armoracia macrocarpa in the Ukrainian part of the Danube valley (Odesa Region). The results of research of this species in Europe are outlined. Of considerable interest are questions of the species origin and peculiarities of its reproductive sphere. In particular, it is established that A. macrocarpa may be a wild ancestor of A. rusticana. On the example of investigation of species of Armoracia genus, it is proved that culture of perennials may have critical consequences for the plant evolution and preservation of their genetic resources. The absence of its seed renewal is due to its prolonged (during many centuries) vegetative reproduction. Molecular studies of European species of Armoracia genus did not confirm hybrid origin of A. rusticana. Its populations in the reproductive aspect proved to be incompatible, the majority of plants are distinguished by the sterility of the male sphere, which determines the sterility of this species and emphasizes the importance of protection and preservation the natural habitats of its probable ancestor – A. macrocarpa. The urgent tasks and issues of the study of the species are outlined, a map of its distribution is presented, and its localities in the region are characterized. It is emphasized that, from an ecological viewpoint, A. macrocarpa belongs to a group of species associated with alluvial ecotopes; it grows in illuminated areas and medium-moisture, weakly acidified, neutral to slightly alkaline soils. A cenotic characterization of communities with participation of this species is provided according to the J. Braun-Blanquet classification approach. Problems of the current conservation status of populations of A. macrocarpa in the region are considered, leading factors of the negative anthropogenic impact are identified, which are the ongoing amelioration and reclamation of floodplain areas and wetlands, forestation, and excessive grazing. Representation of populations of A. macrocarpa in the network of natural protected areas of Ukraine is discussed. Activities are recommended for conservation of natural habitats of A. macrocarpa, such as the expansion of the protected areas, active conservation and protection methods, including sowing seeds in natural populations, and biotechnical activities.

Keywords: Armoracia macrocarpa, Danube valley, distribution, ecology, phytosociology, biological peculiarities, conservation

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