Economic Botany

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 4–15

Origin(s), evolution, and systematics ofCucurbita pepo (Cucurbitaceae)

  • Deena S. Decker


Numerical studies of morphological data and starch gel electrophoresis have provided a new perspective on important issues pertinent to the origin(s) and subsequent evolution of domesticatedCucurbita pepo. Wild C.texana and/orC. fraterna appear to be the most likely candidates for progenitor(s) of the domesticate. Populations of texana-like plants from beyond Texas share various attributes with Texas populations, suggesting that C. texana once had a more widespread distribution to the northeast. The possibility exists thatC. pepo was domesticated independently in eastern U.S., as well as in Mexico, which is in line with recent archeological findings. Multiple domestications are also supported by allozyme data indicating a substantial divergence within the species. A new classification consisting of C.pepo ssp.pepo (origins in Mexico),C. pepo ssp.ovifera var. ovifera (origins in eastern U.S.), and C.pepo ssp.ovifera var. texana (spontaneous populations in eastern U.S.) is proposed.


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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deena S. Decker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege Station
  2. 2.Marie Selby Botanical GardensSarasota

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