Oman at the cross-roads of inter-regional exchange of cultivated plants

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Abstract

During the past years the Sultanate of Oman which is located at the south-eastern tip of the Arabian peninsula has been studied for its cultivated plant genetic resources. Data from this study, that commenced in 2002 and information from the literature have been combined to document the millenia-old cultivation history of many agri- and horticultural crop plants in this country at the cross-roads of inter-regional exchange. The resulting checklist comprises 194 species from 133 genera and 53 families and 11 geoelements of 136 selected species. Notable inputs came from South and Southeast Asia with 21.3%, from the Near East and East Mediterranean with 20.6%, and from Central and South America with 15.4%. Most elements are allochthonous while real autochthonous elements such as Boswellia sacra Flueck. and Prunus arabica (Oliv.) Meikle are rare. A remarkable infraspecific variation in several crop species and evidence of introgession were found indicating an evolutionary power of Oman that is similar to that of South Italy.

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