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Wild grapevine (Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris) in the Hyrcanian relict forests of northern Iran: an overview of current taxonomy ecology and palaeorecords

Journal Article

Naqinezhad A; Ramezani E; Djamali M; Schnitzler A; Arnold C


Journal of Forestry Research


Due to severe anthropogenic impacts on lowland and submontane zones of the Hyrcanian forests of northern Iran wild grapevine (Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris) a sporadically distributed woody liana is currently considered an endangered species. Using data from the literature and 34 studied populations herbarium assessments and nine palynological sites we provide an overview of its taxonomy distribution and ecology in the first part of the investigation. The separation of the two subspecies namely V. sylvestris subsp. anebophylla and V. sylvestris subsp. trichophylla (sensu Flora Iranica) based on their leaf indumentums could not be confirmed by our examination of herbarium materials and field observations. Indumentum of the leaves is a result of leaf polymorphism in different Vitis specimens and can be strongly influenced by environmental conditions. Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris grows in a wide range of habitats including wetlands seasonal stream sides in closed forests alluvial beds of large rivers sand dune shrublands and forested wetlands (alder forests). Parrotia persica and Carpinus betulus were the most frequent host species in the studied populations. In the Hyrcanian region no pollen record of Vitis older than the Mid-or Late-Holocene has yet been established. Despite the intrinsic problem in pollen identification by normal (i.e. light) microscopy of wild from cultivated grapevines the significant values and persistent occurrence of Vitis pollen since the Mid-Holocene (before the Bronze Age) in the Hyrcanian pollen records may imply the onset of viticulture in low- to mid-elevation sites in the region. This represents an argument to consider the Hyrcanian region as a possible domestication center for V. vinifera. However the question of wild versus cultivated origin of grapevines in the Hyrcanian pollen records and the possible date of its domestication and/or cultivation will remain open until further palynological studies are undertaken. \r\n\r\nWild grapevine (Vitis vinifera subsp.... (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed May 04 2018].


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