Allium ursinum and low genetic variability

Allium ursinum L. in Germany – surprisingly low genetic variability (Herden, T., Neuffer, B. and Friesen, N. (2012), Allium ursinum L. in Germany – surprisingly low genetic variability. Feddes Repert., 123: 81–95. doi: 10.1002/fedr.201200019 ) is an interesting article about biogeography of Allium ursinum ,stating:

“Sequences of the nuclear internal transcribed spacer ITS, and the external transcribed spacer ETS, as well as the plastidic trn L-rpl 32 and the trn L-trn F spacer regions were compared. No variation was detected within the species. Even sequences of populations from Belfast, Ireland did not differ from populations of Germany”

What does it mean?Basically that Allium ursinum plants from the following old illustrations are probably genetically almost identical as the plants being sold on Ljubljana grocery market today!Have a look!




 An illustration from British Entomology by John Curtis. Coleoptera: Adimonia 4-maculata Phyllobrotica quadrimaculata (Orange-and-black Galeruca).The plant is Allium ursinum (Ramsons) 1840, from:

File:Allium ursinum — Flora Batava — Volume v11.jpg

Janus Kops,Flora Batava of Afbeelding en Beschrijving van Nederlandsche Gewassen, XI. Deel. (1853),from:

File:Allium ursinum Sturm36.jpg

Bären-Lauch, Allium ursinum, 1796, from:

File:Illustration Allium ursinum0.jpg

Original book source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany

Source: from:


16 thoughts on “Allium ursinum and low genetic variability

    1. Would you believe I made just some pics, there have been some poisonings already as its leaves are very similar to poisonous lilly of the valley.So I will wait till I can pick it myself 😉


  1. Interesting. So the implication is – that it’s a species of very recent origin? Or that it’s been through a genetic bottleneck when the population was nearly wiped out and then the range was recolonized by descendants of a small, local population (as is thought to have happened with Cheetahs)?


  2. I have this in my garden, it is the first herb that comes out of his hiding, it tastes lovely, you can use it in many dishes, it blooms with nice white flowers for a very long time and spreads like mad, needs damp soil and light shade but grows everywhere even in dry soil and full sun, after flowering it disappears under ground again


      1. I think you have to experiment with herbes, see what you like. I use it in salads, but you can use it to sprinkle(chop it finely)it on top of a cup of soup or an omelette, you can decorate your plates with one or 2 leafs, etc


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