Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 4:24-26 (article 13) 1981
A New Plant Type in Cucumis melo L.
H. S. Paris, Z. Karchi, H. Nerson, M. Edelstein, A. Govers,
and D, Freudenberg
Division of Vegetable Crops, Agricultural
Research Organization, Newe Ya'ar Experiment Station, P.
O. Haifa, Israel
Two plant types have been widely described in melon. The
vine type is by far the more common, with all but a few
cultivars being of this type. The short-internode type (2,
5) permits high plant populations per unit area, but is
not yet important commercially. Both these types have a
prostrate growth habit.
A third, less widely known, plant type exhibits upright,
bushy growth until shortly after fruit set. Given the unfortunate
use of the term "bush" in reference to the short-internode
type, this new type is perhaps better referred to as "birdsnest"
(3), in reference to the position of the fruits in the center
of the plant. The "short-runnered" form described
by Dyutin (4) may be similar material.
Plants of the birdsnest type are distinguished by three
main features: compact growth, placement of fruits near
the base of the plant, and uniform development and maturation
of fruits. Five introductions reportedly fitting this description
were made available to us: 'Persia 201' (P201), 'Persia
202' (P202), 'Persia 203' (P203), 'Persia 221' (P221), and
'Russia 5062' (R5062). P201, P202, and P203 were collected
from Teheran, Iran, and P221 from Isfahan, Iran, in 1966
(7), and upon screening were described as having short internodes,
fruits concentrated near the center of the plant and ripening
uniformly, of poor eating quality, and highly susceptible
to diseases (8). R5062 was kindly provided by Dr. D.W.
Denna, who described it is a "birdsnest" type
obtained from "a Russian plant breeder" (3).
These introductions were observed for several years in
field trials at Newe Ya'ar (Yizre'el Valley, Northern Israel)
followed by evaluation in a replicated field trial during
the summer of 1979. Particular attention was paid to compactness
of growth and closeness of fruits to the base of the plant.
Data for concentration of fruit maturity were incomplete,
due to disease infestations, which killed most of the plants
before fruit maturity, P203 exhibited a spreading, prostrate
growth and distant placement of fruits, and thus could not
be considered as being of the birdsnest type. R5062 was
not so compact as the remaining three introductions and
its fruits were significantly farther from the center of
the plant, though there was a significant difference in
regard to the latter character between inbreds obtained
from the original material. P201, P202, and P221 were equally
desirable with regard to fruit position. However, P201 appeared
to be somewhat less compact than P202 and P221. Observations
of P201, P202 and P221 plants surviving to maturity supported
the contention that fruits of individual plants ripen nearly
P201, P202, and P221 are vigorous, with large light green
leaves, large seeds, and are andromonoecious. All three
are highly susceptible to diseases. Fruits of P201 and P202
are round and have a heavy, coarse netting. Fruits of P221
are usually flat in shape, have fine netting, and a rind
that turns bright yellow-orange when ripe. Flesh of P201
and P221 is orange and that of P202 segregates for orange
and green. In all three accessions, fruit weight averages
slightly over 1 kg, the seed cavity is large, flesh is this
and low in sugar (3-4% soluble solids by refractometer),
and the fruits decay quickly.
The short-internode type is reported to differ genetically
from the vine type by a major recessive gene plus at least
two modifiers (1, 2, 6). Dyutin (4) reported that his short-runnered
form had a complex inheritance. Results of crossing P202
with vine type cultivars are also suggestive of a complex
genetic control, but the relationship between P202 and Dyutin's
material is not known. Crossing results indicate that it
is possible to improve horticultural characteristics and
lower disease susceptibility while maintaining birdsnest
expression to a large degree. Development of cultivars combining
birdsnest type with susceptible fruit characteristics may
permit profitable once-over mechanized harvest.
- Bohn, G. W. and J. A. Principe. 1968. Independent assortment
of young plant characters in muskmelon, Cucumis melo
L. Hortscience 3:95 (abstract).
- Denna, D. W. 1962. A study of the genetic, morphological,
and physiological basis of the bush and vine habit of
several cucurbits. Ph.D. Thesis, Cornell Univ., Ithaca,
NY. Diss. Abstr. B23:1476.
- Denna, D. W. 1973. Correspondence (to ZK), September
- Dyutin, K. E. 1975. Some problems in breeding short-runnered
varieties of melon. Sb. nauch. tr. VNII oroshaem. Ovoschev,
i bakhchev. No. 3/4, 255-258 (in Russian), cf. Refer.
Zhurnal 4,55.318 (in Russian), cf. Plant Breed.
- Mohr, H. C. and D. E. Knavel. 1966. Progress in the
development of short-internode (bush) cantaloupes. HortScience. 1:16.
- Rudich, J. 1969. Genetic and hormonal control of internode
length in melons. M.S. Thesis, Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem,
Faculty of Agriculture, Rehovot, Israel.
- Slomnicki, I., A. Stein, and J. Nothmann. 1966. Exploration,
collection and screening of indigenous and local varieties
of vegetable crops cultivated in Turkey and Iran. Second
Advance Report submitted to the Ford Foundation, Project
No. 5/A4. The Volcani Institute of Agricultural Research,
Bet Dagan, Israel.
- Slomnicki, I., A. Stein, and J. Nothmann. 1968. Exploration,
collection and screening of indigenous and local varieties
of vegetable crops cultivated in Turkey and Iran. Final
Report submitted to the Ford Foundation, Project No. 5/A4.
The Volcani Institute of Agricultural Research, Bet Dagan,
This research is supported by a grant from the United States-Israel
(Binational) Agricultural Research and Development Fund
Contribution No. 356-E, 1980 series, from the Agricultural
Research Organization, Bet Dagan, Israel.