The aim of the work was to characterize wild cherry (Prunus avium L.) plants from Italy, from both ecological and genetic points of views Particular emphasis was given to the southern part of the country, which is the border of the areal species. Plants growing in the latter area did not show any significant differences from the other populations. In general, it was not possible to observe a structuring linked to the geographical location of the breeding zones. The results of the study contribute to a better understanding of our knowledge of the wild cherry genetic variation in Italy, thus making for more efficient programs aimed at the preservation of biodiversity and for more rational planning of the management of reproductive material. Since our results do not show a clear structuring of genetic variability within the Italian diffusion area of wild cherry, it is not possible to draw any indications on Regions of Provenance delimitation based only on genetic data, and the identification of the latter should be based mainly on ecological and vegetational features..
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