Date Palm Agrobiodiversity (Phoenix dactylifera L.) in Siwa Oasis, Egypt: Combining Ethnography, Morphometry, and Genetics

Vincent Battesti, Muriel Gros-Balthazard, Clémence Ogéron, Sarah Ivorra, Jean Frédéric Terral, Claire Newton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We evaluate date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) agrobiodiversity of Siwa oasis, Egypt, located at the crossroads of ancient Trans-Saharan routes, focusing on diversity both as expressed and maintained by the folk categorization system of Siwa inhabitants (through an ethnographic analysis) and as described by genetic sciences and a morphometric tool based on size and geometry of seeds. We verified that some named types are true cultivars, sharing not only a formal identity, important for Isiwan people, but also a genetic identity. However, we also confirm the existence of “ethnovarieties,” i.e., voluntary collections of multiple clones sharing phenotypic characteristics with the same local name, suggesting the genetic richness is higher than the apparent agrobiodiversity estimated by a superficial ethnobotanical approach. Finally, our research offers new insights on the relative importance of feral and cultivated date palms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-546
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Ecology
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Keywords

  • Agrobiodiversity
  • Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.)
  • Ethnographical analysis
  • Microsatellite markers
  • Seed morphometrics, Siwa Oasis, Egypt, Ethnovariety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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