, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 31-43

First online:

A biosystematic and evolutionary study of capsicum baccatum (Solanaceae)

  • W. Hardy EshbaughAffiliated withDept. of Botany, Miami University

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Capsicum baccatum L. has frequently been treated as two distinct species,C. microcarpum Cav. andC. pendulum Willd. A biosystematic study reveals a quantitative and qualitative basis for morphological separation ofC. baccatum into two taxa, while cytological and genetic data indicate their close similarity. A resolution of this apparent contradiction can be found in a “gigas” effect imparted to all the organ systems of cultivatedC. baccatum while the fruit has been under intense subconscious and conscious artificial selective pressures for an increase in size. Few, if any, incipient genetic barriers have arisen to separateC. baccatum into distinct species. CultivatedC. baccatum has been isolated by man in a number of localities outside the range of wildC. baccatum. Where both cultivated and wildC. baccatum occur sympatrically, they are effectively isolated by an inbreeding mechanism and agricultural practices. On the basis of this investigationC. baccatum is treated as a wild variety,C. baccatum L. var.baccatum, and a cultivated variety,C. baccatum var.pendulum (Willd.) Eshbaugh.