Main content area

Overwintering, chemical variation, and genetic diversity in three vegetatively propagated lines of French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa)

Kämäräinen-Karppinen, Terttu, Mäkinen, Anni, Kolehmainen, Sonja, Hämäläinen, Aino, Laine, Kari, Hohtola, Anja, Mattila, Sampo, Pirttilä, Anna Maria
Journal of horticultural science & biotechnology 2008 v.83 no.6 pp. 765-769
Artemisia dracunculus, biochemical polymorphism, biomass production, biotechnology, essential oils, genetic variation, horticulture, lipid content, methyl chavicol, monophyly, overwintering, restriction fragment length polymorphism, survival rate, tarragon, vegetative propagation
French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa) has been vegetatively propagated for centuries, but variability in the vegetative lines has not been studied.Three lines of French tarragon (A – C) were studied for their overwintering capacity at the limit of survival, their essential oil content and composition, and their genetic variability. Line B had the lowest Winter survival rate, the highest biomass yield, and the lowest content of essential oils.The essential oils of line B had higher proportions of cis- and trans-ocimenes, and contained less estragole and herniarin than the essential oils of lines A and C.When genetic diversity was studied using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), all French tarragon lines clustered together, while Russian tarragon was monophyletic. Lines A and B were genetically closer to each other than line C. These results indicate that all three lines tested were genetically and biochemically different, which may have resulted from spontaneous mutations over centuries of vegetative propagation. Our results demonstrate the need to monitor and preserve the most important traits for future cultivation and use of vegetatively propagated herbs.