Table of Contents
ISRN Agronomy
Volume 2014, Article ID 656937, 9 pages
Research Article

Morphological Variability of Wild Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L. var. sylvestris) Populations in North of Tunisia

1High Institute of Agronomy of Chott-Mariem, University of Sousse, 4042 Chott Mariem, Tunisia
2High Institute of Biotechnology of Monastir, University of Monastir, Tunisia

Received 7 November 2013; Accepted 15 December 2013; Published 6 February 2014

Academic Editors: O. Merah and K. L. Sahrawat

Copyright © 2014 Imen Ben Ammar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In north of Tunisia, wild cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L. var. sylvestris (Lamk) Fiori) is called “khurshef.” It is consumed mainly for its fleshy stems and leafstalks in some traditional dishes. In some regions, heads were used to prepare cheese. North Tunisian germplasm has been currently damaged by severe genetic erosion, pollution, urbanization, and bad farming practices. In order to preserve this species and to assess morphological relationship between accessions, the present study aims to prospect and to characterize individuals in several areas of the north of Tunisia. Six populations were collected and then 20 individuals per population were evaluated using UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plant) descriptors related to leaves, leafstalks, and heads. Multivariate analyses were used to elucidate relationship among the studied populations. Principal components analysis revealed more diversity within each population. Cluster study reveals large variability among populations. This analysis allows classifying the germplasm of wild cardoon into five groups. Similarities observed between ecotypes despite their distinctiveness of geographic origin suggest a narrow genetic base. These analyses are very useful for the management and the use of wild cardoon in future breeding programs for Cynara germplasm.