Khesari (Lathyrus sativus L.), an ancient legume for future gain: An expedition collection from parts of West Bengal state of Eastern India

Tripathi, Kuldeep ; Sadhukhan, Raghunath ; Das, Arpita ; Jana, Kalyan ; Semwal, D P; Kumar, Ashok ; Sarker, Ashutosh ; Ahlawat, Sudhir Pal


Grasspea plays a considerable role in food and nutritional security of the local people. Notably, in the eastern parts of India, there is a long history of cultivation and uses of this crop. An expedition was undertaken to collect germplasm of grasspea in lower-Gangetic riverine belt and coastal areas of West Bengal of eastern India lying between latitude 21.43-24.44°N and longitude 87.23-88.90°E. From results of a structured questionnaire administered to grasspea farmers in 57 villages located in 96 local government areas, it appeared that grasspea is the primary winter pulse cultivated in this region. A large variability of germplasm exist, ranging from small to bold seed, green to yellow colour seed types, moderate to the high biomass type of grasspea. Most of these landraces have been adopted over the years from neighbouring communities, but in a few instances, the varietal replacement was noted which came either through the involvement of government department or local seed dealers. The highest proportion of the accessions (52.38%) were collected from Purba Medinipur district, and the lowest (19.05%) from Paschim Medinipur. On-spot evaluation of morphological traits variations was detected in the descriptor characteristics across the locations. A total of 21 accessions was collected and assessed on-spot for characters, viz., size, shape, skin colour, taste and texture of the epidermis, revealed significant variation. The implications of this survey results for grasspea improvement in India are discussed in the present study.


Climate resilient, Collection, Exploration, Grasspea, Khesari, Landraces

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