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On the occurrence, distribution and taxonomy of Cucumis setosus Cogn., an endemic wild edible vegetable from India

Abstract

Cucumis setosus Cogn. is a rare, endemic, wild gathered or semi-domesticated vegetable restricted to Maharashtra state and border districts of adjoining states in India. Herbarium and literature survey shows that it is poorly collected and inadequately studied. Morphological characters, basic chromosome number and crossability barriers indicate that Cucumis setosus is a valid species, distinct from C. sativus and endemic to western India. Its morphology, basic cytology, crossability relationship with other Cucumis species, taxonomy, distribution, ecology, conservation, economic importance and viability under cultivation are discussed. Besides, a key to distinguish it from C. sativus var. hardwickii (wild and feral form of C. sativus) and other species having sympatric distribution in the area is also presented. Absence of bitter principle in the fruits makes it a potential germplasm for melon and cucumber improvement as well as direct domestication as a future crop.

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Acknowledgments

The work was carried out with the funding from National Agricultural Innovation Project on “Biosystematics of the genera Vigna, Cucumis and Abelmoschus”. We profusely thank Dr. N. K. Dwivedi, Principal Scientist and Officer in charge, NBPGR Regional Station, Thrissur, Dr. M. Dutta, Head, Germplasm Evaluation Division and Dr. K. C. Bansal, Director, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, New Delhi for the support and encouragement. The facility extended by authorities of CNH and BSI for herbarium consultation and photography of a few sheets is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to K. Joseph John.

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John, K.J., Khedasana, R., Nissar, V.A.M. et al. On the occurrence, distribution and taxonomy of Cucumis setosus Cogn., an endemic wild edible vegetable from India. Genet Resour Crop Evol 61, 345–355 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10722-013-0038-5

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Keywords

  • Cucumis setosus
  • Genetic resources
  • Gene pool relationship
  • Wild Cucumis