MORPHO-MARKERS AS SEX DETERMINANTS IN FLUTED PUMPKIN (TELFAIRIA OCCIDENTALIS) PLANTS
Fluted pumpkin is a very important fast growing indigenous medicinal, seed and leafy vegetable in high demand in Nigeria because of its nutritional value. Though it serves as one of the major leafy vegetables in West Africa, the seeds are also potential raw material for industrial use. Yet, it is still referred to as one of the most underutilized crops in Africa. With the growing awareness of this species as a medicinal, seed and leafy vegetable, growers prefer to cultivate the more succulent, economical and productive female seeds on a commercial scale. However, the preponderance of male to female plants in the pods, diversity of accessions identified in the plant and difficulty of identifying the female seeds before planting has been a challenge to growers and scientists. Though there have been speculations on the identification of male and female plants of fluted pumpkin, there have been contradictions on the indicators of sex on the seed, seedlings and the plants before flowering. The purpose of our study was therefore to test whether there could be a morphological indicator for sex between and within accessions of fluted pumpkin. All seeds within the pods of seven accessions were planted and each seed observed to flowering and fruiting. All morphological characteristics used as indicators differed significantly between accessions showing different types of fluted pumpkin. Pearson Correlation Coefficient, ANOVA and Paired Sample T-test gave the leaf size and the thickness of vine as indicators of sex at 1% level of significance. The female leaves and thickness of vine were 40% larger and 30% thicker than male plants. Sexual differentiation of seeds at the juvenile stage appeared to be possible from the study, which revealed that female seeds are heavier (10.29 g) than the male seeds (8.77 g) within the same accession. The use of sex-linked morphological markers could be useful in finding a practical solution to this challenge.
Odiaka, N.I., Anande, A.P. and Maga, T.J. (2013). MORPHO-MARKERS AS SEX DETERMINANTS IN FLUTED PUMPKIN (TELFAIRIA OCCIDENTALIS) PLANTS. Acta Hortic. 1007, 241-246
Telfairia, morphological-markers, sex