Improved seed production of Lotus tenuis for a global market

University of Tasmania

  • Project code: PRJ-003627

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Friday, July 31, 2009

  • Project completion date: Monday, May 20, 2013

  • National Priority: PSE-Sustainable certified temperate pasture seed production


A significant opportunity has been identified in collaboration with the Tasmanian seed company Tas Global Seeds Pty Ltd. for the development of the perennial legume Lotus tenuis as a new pasture crop suited to Tasmanian conditions. Markets have been identified for potential export of seed, nationally and internationally. However, current demand and usage of L. tenuis in Australia and other parts of the world, such as South America, are limited by the availability of suitable cultivars with seed production characteristics that facilitate reliable yields and harvestable quantities of seed.

As a pasture/forage plant, Lotus tenuis is adapted to low fertility, waterlogged, and saline soils, and is cultivated in a number of countries including New Zealand, Canada, USA and South America. Cultivars of other Lotus spp. have been developed for Australian conditions, but little or no plant improvement work has been undertaken on L. tenuis. Daylength is known to be an important factor in determining flowering and seed set L. tenuis and Tasmania’s ideal climate for seed production is thought to favour it suitability as a new seed crop.

The first stage in assessment and development of this species for seed production is to evaluate through detailed research a large number of accessions under field conditions in Tasmania. At the same time work needs to be conducted on the effect of daylength on flowering and the screening of accessions for tolerance to salinity and waterlogging.


Pasture Seeds

Research Organisation

University of Tasmania

Objective Summary

The overall project objective is to assemble a large number of accessions of L. tenuis including those already held in collection by TIAR for characterisation, evaluation of seed production and screening for tolerance to environmental stresses. Specifically the project aims are to:
1. Characterise accessions and assess seed production under field conditions
2. Assess under controlled environment conditions critical environmental factors influencing seed production, in particular the effect of daylength.
3. Screen a number of accessions for tolerance to environmental stresses such as salinity and waterlogging.
4. Investigate L. tenuis as a potential perennial pasture species to be produced in Southern Australia and marketed globally.