Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid, Vol 73, No 1 (2016)

Updated taxonomic descriptions, iconography, and habitat preferences of Brachypodium distachyon, B. stacei, and B. hybridum (Poaceae)

Pilar Catalán
Department of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, High Polytechnic School of Huesca, University of Zaragoza - Department of Botany, Institute of Biology, Tomsk State University, Spain

Diana López-Álvarez
Department of Botany, Institute of Biology, Tomsk State University, Spain

Cristina Bellosta
Department of Botany, Institute of Biology, Tomsk State University, Spain

Luis Villar
Instituto Pirenaico de Ecología (IPE-CSIC), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain


We present an updated morphological revision of the three annual species of the genus Brachypodium (Poaceae): B. distachyon, B. tacei, and B. hybridum, which were recently segregated as independent species from the single-species complex B. distachyon s.l. These three species have been proposed as a model system for grass polyploid speciation, and their genomes have been sequenced. However, despite the increasing number of genomic and population-genetic studies conducted for each of these species, no taxonomic updating has been done on them since their original descriptions. B. stacei, the rarest species of the complex, has a protologue based only on the study of specimens from its type locality in Torrent (Formentera, Spain). In this study we update the taxonomic descriptions of the three species using morphoanatomical data from specimens collected throughout their respective native circum-Mediterranean distributions as well as in other localities where they are non-autochthonous. We also provide icons for each species and information about their habitat preferences and geographic distributions.


annual model grass species; Brachypodium; ecology; illustrations; morphology; taxonomy

Full Text:



Bakker, E.G., Montgomery, B., Nguyen, T., Eide, K., Chang, J., Mockler, T.C., Liston, A., Seabloom, E.W. & Borer, E.T. 2009. Strong population structure characterizes weediness gene evolution in the invasive grass species Brachypodium distachyon. Molecular Ecology 18: 2588-2601. PMid:19457186

Betekhtin, A., Jenkins, G. & Hasterok, R. 2014. Reconstructing the evolution of Brachypodium genomes using Comparative Chromosome Painting. PLoS ONE 9(12): e115108. PMid:25493646 PMCid:PMC4262448

Bretagnolle, F. & Lumaret, R. 1995. Bilateral polyploidization in Dactylis glomerata L. subsp. lusitanica: occurrence, morphological and genetic characteristics of first polyploids. Euphytica 84: 197-207.

Catalán, P., Shi Y., Amstrong, L., Draper, J. & Stace, C.A. 1995. Molecular phylogeny of the grass genus Brachypodium P. Beauv. based on RFLP and RAPD analysis. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 177: 263-280.

Catalán, P. & Olmstead, R.G. 2000. Phylogenetic reconstruction of the genus Brachypodium P. Beauv. (Poaceae) from combined sequences of chloroplast ndhF gene and nuclear ITS. Plant Systematics and Evolution 220: 1-19.

Catalán, P., Müller, J., Hasterok, R., Jenkins, G., Mur, L.A., Langdon, T., Betekhtin, A., Siwinska, D., Pimentel, M. & López-Álvarez, D. 2012. Evolution and taxonomic split of the model grass Brachypodium distachyon. Annals of Botany 109: 385-405. PMid:22213013 PMCid:PMC3268539

Catalán, P., Chalhoub, B., Chochois, V., Garvin, D.F., Hasterok, R., Manzaneda, A.J., Mur, L.A.J., Pecchioni, N., Rasmussen, S.K., Vogel, J.P & Voxeur, A. 2014. Update on the genomics and basic biology of Brachypodium. Trends in Plant Science 19: 414-418. PMid:24917149

Catalán, P., López-Álvarez, D., Díaz-Pérez, A., Sancho, R. & López-Herranz, M.L. 2015. Phylogeny and evolution of the genus Brachypodium. In Vogel, J. (ed.). Genetics and genomics of Brachypodium. pp. 1-30. PMid:26404704

Series Plant Genetics and Genomics: Crops Models. Springer. New York.

Garvin, D.F., Gu, Y.Q., Hasterok, R., Hazen, S.P., Jenkins, G., Mockler, T.C., Mur, L.A.J. & Vogel, J.P. 2008. Development of genetic and genomic research resources for Brachypodium distachyon, a new model system for grass crop research. Crop Science 48: 69-84.

Giraldo, P., Rodríguez-Quijano, M., Vázquez, J.F., Carrillo, J.M. & Benavente, E. 2012. Validation of microsatellite markers for cytotype descrimination in the model grass Brachypodium. Genome 55: 1-5. PMid:22788413

Hammami, R., Jouve, N., Cuadrado, A., Soler, C. & González, J.M. 2011. Prolamin storage proteins and alloploidy in wild populations of the small grass Brachypodium distachyon (L.) P. Beauv. Plant Systematics and Evolution 297: 99-111.

International Brachypodium Initiative (IBI). 2010. Genome sequencing and analysis of the model grass Brachypodium distachyon. Nature 463: 763-768. PMid:20148030

Jaaska, V. 2014. Isozyme variation and differentiation of morphologically cryptic species in the Brachypodium distachyon complex. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 56: 185 - 190.

Jenkins, G., Hasterok, R. & Draper, J. 2003. Building the molecular infrastructure of a new model grass. In: Zwierzykowski, Z., Surma, M. & Kachlicki, P. (eds.) Applications of Novel Cytogenetic and Molecular Techniques in Genetics and breeding of the Grasses. pp. 77-84. Institute of Plant Genetics PAS. Poznan.

Khan M.A. & Stace, C.A. 1999. Breeding relationships in the genus Brachypodium (Poaceae: Pooideae). Nordic Journal of Botany 19: 257–269.

López-Álvarez, D., López-Herranz, M.L., Betekhtin, A. & Catalán, P. 2012. A DNA barcoding method to discriminate between the model plant Brachypodium distachyon and its close relatives B. stacei and B. hybridum (Poaceae). PLoS ONE 7(12): e51058. PMid:23240000 PMCid:PMC3519806

López-Álvarez, D., Manzaneda, A.J., Rey, P.J., Giraldo, P., Benavente, E., Allainguillaume, J., Mur, L.A.J., Caicedo, A.L., Hazen, S.P., Breiman, A., Ezrati, S. & Catalán, P. 2015. Environmental niche variation and evolutionary diversification of the Brachypodium distachyon grass complex species in their native circum-Mediterranean range. American Journal of Botany 102: 1-16. PMid:26199365

Manzaneda, A.J., Rey, P.J., Bastida, J.M., Weiss-Lehman, C., Raskin, E. & Mitchell-Olds, T. 2012. Environmental aridity is associated with cytotype segregation and polyploidy occurrence in Brachypodium distachyon (Poaceae). New Phytologist 193: 797-805. PMid:22150799 PMCid:PMC3257369

Marinho, R.C., Mendes-Rodrigues, C., Bonetti, A.M. & Oliveira, P.E. 2014. Pollen and stomata morphometrics and polyploidy in Eriotheca (Malvaceae-Bombacoideae). Plant Biology 16: 508-511. PMid:24341784

McNeill, J., Stuessy, T.F., Turland, N.J. & Hörandl, E. 2005. XVII International Botanical Congress: preliminary mail vote and report of Congress action on nomenclature proposals. Taxon 54: 1057–1064.

Mur, L.A., Allainguillaume, J., Catalán, P., Hasterok, R., Jenkins, G., Lesniewska, K., Thomas, I. & Vogel, J. 2011. Exploiting the Brachypodium Tool Box in cereal and grass research. New Phytologist 191: 334-347. PMid:21623796

Nagl, W. 1978. Endopolyploidy and polyteny in differentiation and evolution: towards an understanding of quantitative and qualitative variation of nuclear DNA in ontogeny and phylogeny. North-Holland Publishing, New York.

Schippmann, U. 1991. Revision der europäischen Arten der Gattung Brachypodium Palisot de Beauvois (Poaceae). Boissiera 45: 1-250.

Schippmann, U. & Jarvis, C.E. 1988. Typification of three Linnean names associated with the genus Brachypodium (Poaceae). Taxon 37: 158-164.

Speckmann, G.J., Post, J. & Dijkstra, H. 1965. The length of stomata as an indicator for polyploidy in rye-grasses. Euphytica 14: 225-230.

Steinwand, M.A., Young, H.A., Bragg, J.N., Tobias, C.M. &, Vogel, J.P. 2013. Brachypodium sylvaticum, a model for perennial grasses: transformation and inbred line development. PLoS ONE 8(9): e75180. PMid:24073248 PMCid:PMC3779173

Tan, G.-Y. & Dunn, G.M. 1973. Relationship of stomatal length and frequency and pollen-grain diameter to ploidy level in Bromus inermis Leyss. Crop Science 13: 332-334.

Tate, J.A. & Simpson, B.B. 2004. Breeding system evolution in Tarasa (Malvaceae) and selection for reduced pollen grain size in the polyploid species. American Journal of Botany 91: 207-213. PMid:21653377

Vogel, J.P., Tuna, M., Budak, H., Huo, N.X., Gu, Y.Q. & Steinwand, M.A. 2009. Development of SSR markers and analysis of diversity in Turkish populations of Brachypodium distachyon. BMC Plant Biology 9: 88. PMid:19594938 PMCid:PMC2719641

Copyright (c) 2016 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Contact us:

Technical support: