Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 299–309 | Cite as

Quantitative morphological descriptors confirm traditionally classified morphotypes of Tamarindus indica L. fruits

  • Belarmain Fandohan
  • Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo
  • Romain Glèlè Kakaï
  • Tina Kyndt
  • Brice Sinsin
Research Article


This study used quantitative descriptors to assess morphological variation of traditionally classified tamarind fruits and its relation to ecological conditions. Tamarind trees were sampled spanning locally recognized fruit morphotypes within three ecological zones. Twelve morphological descriptors were measured on 3000 fruits and seeds. Univariate and canonical discrimiant analyses performed on morphological descriptors revealed significant differences and confirmed morphotypes distinction as perceived by local people. Nevertheless, the variance components analysis showed substantial variations within morphotypes, suggesting a significant heterogeneity within fruits traditionally classified as belonging to the same morphotypes. To get a more powerful morphological discrimination, quantitative descriptors should hence be combined with locally perceived qualitative traits (pulp taste and colour). Observed variations were significantly correlated with ecological factors. Fruits’ and seeds’ size and mass tended to increase with humidity and decline with aridity. Results also indicated that fruit mass is a good predicator of pulp yield, although its predicting power differed among morphotypes. Outputs from the variance component analysis suggested that pending further genetic studies, germplasm collection should be done by sampling a moderate number of trees per morphotype, to ensure capturing a wide range of genetic diversity. The observed extensive variation has provided with relevant information for further improvement programs.


Ecological zones Folk classification Morphological variation Tamarindus indica West Africa 



This work is supported by Domestication and Development of Baobab and Tamarind (DADOBAT-EU funded project). We are particularly grateful to Orou G. Gaoue and Jean TC Codjia for guidance and comments on an earlier version. We are indebted to local women for their substantial contribution to this work especially during morphotypes identification. Elisabeth Agadja, Alice Bonou and Gbaguidi Marie-Ange are gratefully acknowledged for their advice and warm-hearted help without which we could not have made efficient surveys. We are indebted to anonymous reviewers whose comments have improved this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Belarmain Fandohan
    • 1
  • Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo
    • 1
  • Romain Glèlè Kakaï
    • 1
  • Tina Kyndt
    • 2
  • Brice Sinsin
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Agronomic SciencesUniversity of Abomey-CalaviCotonouBenin
  2. 2.Faculty of Bioscience EngineeringGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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