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Date: 20 December 2010

A recent article in the latest issue of the BG Journal  [2] (January 2010) highlighted the important work that is being carried out in the Yerevan Botanic Gardens targeting the ex situ conservation of crop wild relatives (CWR), particularly wild pear. The collection, one of the oldest in the Caucasus, houses more than 200 CWR species (from 130 genera) and among them nine rare and threatened species of wild pear native to the Armenian flora. Most of the pear specimens in the collection have been growing and regenerating in the conservation plots for over 30 years, indicating that they adapt well to ex situ conservation measures. Some wild pear species (P. caucasica, P. medvedevii, P. salicifolia and P. tamamschjanae) respond well to intensive vegetative reproduction, and can be used to provide living material for their reintroduction to their natural habitats. They also exhibit significant drought tolerance and frost resistance, making them ideal candidates for crop improvement. Aside from their use in breeding and conservation work, pear trees are very ornamental and can be used in landscape gardening. In Armenia, they are used for medicinal purposes and are a valuable food source for humans and pollinators alike. The native wild pear collection attracts many visitors and is an excellent means of raising awareness on the importance of conserving CWR. For further information contact:

J.A Akopian
Institute of Botany of the
National Academy of Sciences,
Republic of Armenia.

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