more on Psyllium

Fri Jun 11 14:08:06 EST 1993

A few days ago I posted a request for information on sources of
Psyllium seed.  I've learned a bit since then that I wanted to share.

The genus is not _Psyllium_, but _Plantago_.  There are a large
number of species, only a few of which are cultivated for medicinal
or industrial use.  The USDA ARS Germplasm Resources Information
Network (GRIN) acknowledges 25 species.  The National Seed Storage
Lab or the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station in Pullman WA
maintain 46 accessions of _Plantago_, most of which are the cultivated
_P. ovata_, the common source of psyllium.  A 1954 publication that I
found claimed that the crop grew well in Texas and Arizona.
Interestingly, most of the accessions in the national seedbank came
from Dr. D. Rubis, a retired faculty member of the University of
Arizona.  I believe that Dr. Rubis' program may have ended with his
retirement, although I have yet to confirm this (are any of you out
there from U of Az Plant Science?  is this true?)

India is apparently a major seed producer.  Recent publications on
the cytogenetics, production and breeding of _P. ovata_  often are
from India (Gujarat, Jammu, Haryana).  A group in the Netherlands
seems to work with the weedy species _P. major_ and _P. lanceolata_.

I'm interested in genetic variation in _Plantago_.  If any of you
know of sources of seed, wild or cultivated, please drop me a line.
And thanks to those of you who have already responded.
T. E. (Tom) Michaels
Department of Crop Science
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario  N1G 2W1
Voice: 519-824-4120 ext. 3392
Fax:   519-763-8933

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