Aegilops sharonensis 

Scope: Global & Mediterranean
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Poales Poaceae

Scientific Name: Aegilops sharonensis Eig
Common Name(s):
English Sharon Goatgrass
Sitopsis sharonensis (Eig) Á.Löve
Triticum sharonense (Eig) ined.
Taxonomic Source(s): eMonocot. 2016. eMonocot. An online resource for monocot plants. Available at:
Taxonomic Notes: Based on the interpretation of the Bread Wheat gene pool of van Slageren (1994), Aegilops sharonensis Eig is a secondary wild relative of Bread Wheat, Triticum aestivum L. subsp. aestivum, Durum Wheat, T. turgidum subsp. durum (Desf.) Husn., and a number of other cultivated wheats; including Emmer Wheat, T. turgidum subsp. dicoccon (Schrank) Thell., Einkorn Wheat, T. monococcum L. subsp. monococcum, Spelt, T. aestivum subsp. spelta (L.) Thell., and Sanduri Wheat, T. timopheevii (Zhuk.) Zhuk. subsp. timopheevii.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A3c ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2015-02-04
Assessor(s): Semaan, M., Sapir, Y. & Fragman-Sapir, O.
Reviewer(s): Sawalha, K.M.S. & Allen, D.J.
Contributor(s): Kell, S.P., Rhodes, L., Maxted, N. & Bradley, I.
The species is restricted to the coastal plains of Gaza (Palestine), Israel, and southern Lebanon. The population is declining as a result of habitat loss, and the level of decline in Israel is estimated at 50% over the last 30 years, with a future decline that will exceed 30% within the next ten years as a result of habitat conversion and degradation. The species is assessed as Vulnerable (VU (A3c)) on the basis of projected population decline and a continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO), habitat extent and quality. Subpopulation monitoring is recommended and in situ and ex situ gap analyses should be undertaken to ensure adequate conservation of genetic diversity, especially due to its known actual and potential uses for crop improvement.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is restricted to the coastal plains of Gaza (Palestine), Israel, and southern Lebanon (Feinbrun-Dothan 1986 cited in van Slageren 1994), where it is found with a discontinuous distribution. Populations have been lost from south of Beirut at the Khalde dunes (the northernmost known locality).

Countries occurrence:
Israel; Lebanon; Palestinian Territory, Occupied
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:256Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:3127
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Lower elevation limit (metres):5
Upper elevation limit (metres):80
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Kimber and Feldman (1987) cited in van Slageren (1994) reported this species to be common and sometimes found in dense stands. In Lebanon it is found as individuals (M. Semaan pers comm. 2016). However, the population is declining as a result of habitat loss across its range, and the level of decline in Israel is estimated at 50% over the last 30 years, with a future decline that will exceed 30% in the future (O. Fragman-Sapir pers. comm. 2016). Data for Lebanon are not available, however localities have been lost, and the same is expected for Gaza.

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

It is found in dry, open grassland and consolidated sand dunes (Ankory and Zohary 1962 cited in van Slageren 1994), and prefers sand or sandy loam soils over sandstone or weathered marine diluvium bedrock (Eig 1928 cited in van Slageren 1994).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):1

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is a secondary genetic relative of wheat and has known potential to confer salt tolerance traits (GRIN 2016), as well as having been utilized to confer yellow rust resistance (Millet et al. 2008).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Impacted by habitat loss as a result of urbanisation and agricultural development.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

The plant is found in a nature reserve in Tyre, Lebanon (M. Semaan pers. comm. 2016) and probably occurs within protected areas within Israel. The genus Aegilops is listed in Annex I of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) as part of the wheat gene pool. 

GBIF (2014) reports 28 global accessions, none of which were collected in Lebanon. Two accessions (1,281 seeds) are reported to be held in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV Data Portal 2013), while USDA (2013) reports 90 accessions in the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), 68 of which are of wild origin and duplicated at a second site. BGCI (2013) records living collections in six botanical gardens worldwide.

Classifications [top]

4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.3. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Coastal Sand Dunes
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.2. Genome resource bank

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:No
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

Bibliography [top]

Ankory, H. and Zohary, D. 1962. Natural hybridization between Aegilops longissima and Ae. sharonensis: a morphological and cytological study. Cytologia 27: 314–315.

Botanic Gardens Conservation International BGCI. 2018. Plant Search: Bridelia pervilleana. London Available at: (Accessed: 2018/06/06).

Eig, A. 1928. Aegilops sharonensis n. sp. Notitzbl. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem 10(95): 490–491.

Feinbrun-Dothan, N. 1986. Flora Palaestina Part 4. Text. Alismataceae to Orchidaceae. The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem.

GBIF. 2014. Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal. Available at:

GRIN. 2016. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), National Genetic Resources Program, United States Department of Agriculture. Beltsville. Available at:

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-3. Available at: (Accessed: 5 December 2017).

Kimber, G. and Feldman, M. 1987. Wild Wheat. An Introduction. Special Report 353. University of Missouri. ii + 142 pp.

Millet, E., Manisterski, J. and Ben-Yehuda, P. 2008. Exploitation of wild cereal for wheat improvement in the Institute for Cereal Crop Improvement. In: Maxted, N., Ford-Lloyd, B.V., Kell, S.P., Iriondo, J., Dulloo, E. and Turok, J. (eds), Crop Wild Relative Conservation and Use, pp. 556–565. Wallingford.

SGSV Data Portal. 2013. Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Available at: (Accessed: 30 September 2013).

USDA. 2013. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Beltsville, Maryland Available at:

van Slageren, M.W. 1994. Wild wheats: a monograph of Aegilops L. and Amblyopyrum (Jaub. & Spach) Eig (Poaceae). Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, Netherlands.

Citation: Semaan, M., Sapir, Y. & Fragman-Sapir, O. 2017. Aegilops sharonensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T19208950A20694921. . Downloaded on 26 September 2018.
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