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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 7:89-90 (article 40) 1984

A Collection of Wild and Cultivated Cucurbitaceae from Zambia

Whitaker, T.W.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (collaborator) and University of California, San Diego, Department of Biology, P.O. Box 150, La Jolla, CA 92038

During April, May and June, 1981, the International Board for Plant Genetics Resources (IBPGR), in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and Water Development of Zambia, sponsored a crop collecting expedition to explore the Southern, Western, Copperbelt and Laupula provinces of Zambia for crop germplasm (1). In addition to many other crops, 445 collections of cucurbits were made. Sampling areas included farmers' fields, threshing grounds, backyards, farm stores, village markets and natural vegetation along forest margins. In order to sample as wide a range of diversity as possible, most of the ecological zones and agricultural systems within each province were sampled.

The Team Leader was K.L. Mehra (IBPGR Consultant), National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, Pusa Campus, New Delhi 110013, India. His efforts were supplemented by counterparts from the various provinces of Zambia and local agricultural specialists.

The seed samples of cucurbits were sent to me for identification by Dr. George A. White, Plant Introduction officer, USDA, Beltsville, MD. This is probably the most extensive and diversified collection of cucurbits ever assembled from Africa (see Table 1). This collection should furnish plant breeders working with the various cucurbit crops some new and much needed material for their research.

Table 1. Cucurbit genetic resources collected in Zambia (1981). The collection was made by an expedition sponsored by the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, and the Zambia Department of Agriculture and Water Development; Leader - K. L. Mehra.

Genus

Species

No. of Collections

Cucurbita

moschata

113

maxima

104

pepoz

3

Cucumis

melo

13

sp.z

80

Lagenaria

siceraria

134

Luffa

sp.

19

Citrullus

lanatusz

55

zThere are 2 questionable samples tentatively identified as Cucurbita maxima; 1 C. pepo; 2 Cucumis sp., and 1 Citrullus lanatus.

This material will be processed and given Plant Introduction numbers and sent to the appropriate Regional Plant Introduction Station for increase, evaluation and subsequent distribution.

The determinations are reasonably accurate, but some items will have to be grown in the field or greenhouse to establish their identity.

Literature Cited

  1. Mehra, K.L. 1981. Collecting in Zambia. Natl. Bureau Plant Genetic Resources. pgs. 45-50.
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Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
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send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 30 November, 2009