In essence, the Pamirs are, so to say, a natural laboratory, but this area is, of course, not a primary centre. It was only extreme need that had forced the population to escape into such a natural confinement. There the cultivated flora itself had in respect of its morphological properties a clearly secondary character. Over centuries and millennia peculiar forms developed in this truly natural laboratory, which indicates the enormous plasticity of the species. The most recent research has demonstrated that agriculture in the Pamirs can reach altitudes of up to 3900 m, where vegetables, potatoes and barley can be successfully grown. It is known that in Tibet, agriculture reaches its highest altitude, all the way up to 4600 metres.
The expeditions to the Pamirs had to a considerable extent determined the direction of future expeditions. The role of the mountainous area of southwestern Asia had become completely clear. The presence in the mountain areas of wild relatives in the form of wild barley, wild Aegilops , wild rye and wild lentils had demonstrated before our own eyes that there it was possible to solve the most fascinating and the most complicated problems of evolution.
- Closely related to modern wheat, and of great interest in wheat breeding. [↩]