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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 15:45-47 (article 15) 1992

Database of Native Distributions for Cucumis

Joseph H. Kirkbride, Jr.

USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory, Building 265, BARC-East, 10300 Baltimore Boulevard, Beltsville, Maryland 20705-2350 U.S.A.

A taxonomic monograph (7) of the genus Cucumis Linnaeus (Cucurbitaceae) was completed, and the morphological, cytological, and macrodistributional data were distributed in a format suitable for interactive specimen identification or for data interrogation (6). Thirty-four botanical institutions around the world loaned 5,880 herbarium specimens of Cucumis and related genera for the study (acronyms according to 5); BH, BLAT, BM, BOL, BR, C, CAL, CANB, CM. E. GAT, HUJ, K, KUN, L, LE, LISC, LISU, LIV, LMU, LY, M,. MEL, MO, MPU, NSW, PE, PRE, S, SRGH, TI, UPS, W, and the Vegetable Research Institute, Beijing. The morphological data were collected from the specimens themselves, and the collection data on their associated labels were entered into a fixed-length-field database on a microcomputer. Only information on labels accompanying Cucumis specimens with identifiable collectors were entered in the database. Some collections had duplicate specimens deposited in more than one institution resulting in fewer collections than specimens. Collections examined at NY, P, and US were not loaned, and so are not included in the database.

A unique record number was assigned to each collection and lightly written in pencil in the lower right-hand corner of each duplicate specimen (Table 1). This number was used to sort out and eliminate duplicate records of collections with duplicate specimens. The species and infraspecific identifications were assigned by the author, and the taxon numbers are those which appeared in the monograph (7). The collectors' names and the location data were in numerous languages using various accents. To enter accents, the extended ASCII character set 1 to 255, was used. the following letters with accents and symbols were input using extended ASCHII characters 123 to 255: a, number 10, 13 times, a, number 135, 27 times, e, number 130, 37 times, e, number 138, 16 times, e, number 136, 4 times, i, number 161, 7 times, number 164, 3 times, o, number 162, 3 times, o, number 148, once, o, number 206, 14 times, u, number 129, 47 times; and +, number 241, once. If a well-known or prominent location, whether part of the detailed location data or separate, was cited on a label, then it was recorded in the Landmark field. This assisted in determining the position of obscure locations. Elevation above sea level in feed was converted to meters.

Few labels gave latitude and longitude of the location in degrees and minutes. These data were obtained from other sources, including geographical references (1, 2, 4, and 10), country gazetteers of the United States Board on Geographic Names, pencil notes on specimens, and the PRECIS database of the Botanical Research Institute, Pretoria, South Africa (3 and 8). In PRECIS a grid system is used for determining locations; each degree square is divided into four half-degree squares, 30' by 30', and 16 quarter-degree squares, 15' by 15', indicated by lower-case letters. Therefore, PRECIS data were used in conjunction with other sources, or when only PRECIS data were available, the latitude and longitude are given in degrees with zero minutes. In a few cases, place names had been used more than once in the same country, and so it was impossible to determine which of the different sets of coordinates applied to a location.

The MS-DOS diskette accompanying report number 15 of the Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative (CGC) contains the self-incompressing file CUCUDIST.EXE. The Cucumis collections database is compressed within this file. It is an ASCII text file 1,996,435 bytes in length, To uncompress the database, create a suitably named directory on a hard disk, and change to it, making it the default directory. Place the diskette accompanying CGC report number 15 in drive A:; and type A:\CUCUDIST at the DOS prompt, and press enter. The file CUCUMIS.DST with 1,966,435 bytes will be written to the default directory. Each line in CUCUMIS.DST contains the data for one collection of Cucumis. Using suitable database software, establish a database structure with the format given in Table 1; the data for each field occurs in the columns given in Table 1. Import the data into the database,and they are ready for use.

The Cucumis collections database can be used in numerous ways. Sorting it by collector and collector's number, the collections critically studied and identified for the monograph of Cucumis can be determined, and the identity of particular collections can be confirmed. Sorted by taxon, i.e., species and infraspecific epithet, the distribution of taxa can be ascertained in the degree of detail desired. Sorted by country and state, the occurrence of taxa in a geographic area can be outlined. Sorting by location is less useful because the location descriptions are so varied that they will not group together. These data can illuminate many aspects of Cucumis when different sorts and selections are used.

Table 1. Fields in the database of collections studied in depth by Kirkbride for his taxonomic monograph of the genus Cucumis Linneaus (Cucurbitaceae).

Field name

Type1

Length
Columns
Description
record_numb
N
5
1-5
Unique number of each collection in database
genus
C
7
6-12
Always Cucumis
species
C
13
13-25
Species name
rank
C
6
26-31
Rank of the infraspecific name
infraspecific
C
32
32-63
Infraspecific name
taxon_numb
C
8
64-71
Taxon number in Kirkbride's Monograph
collector
C
61
72-132
Collector's initials and full last name
collnum
C
17
133-149
Collector's number
month
N
2
150-151
Number from1 to 12 corresponding to month
day
N
2
152-153
Number from 1 to 31
year
N
4
154-157
Number from 1752 to 1988
source
C
26
158-183
Botanical institution(s) where deposited2
country
C
29
184-212
Follows United States Government (9)
state
C
27
213-239
Name appearing on labels
landmark
C
48
240-287
Prominent location on label
location1
C
61
288-348
See footnote3
location2
C
61
349-409
See footnote3
location3
C
61
410-470
See footnote3
location4
C
9
471-507
See footnote3
elevat_me
C
9
508-516
Elevation above sea level in meters
laitdeg
N
2
517-518
Degrees of latitude
laitmin
N
2
519-520
Minutes of latitude
laitdir
C
1
521
Latitude direction, N = north; S = south
longideg
N
3
522-524
Degrees of longitude
longimin
N
2
525-526
Minutes of longitude
longidir
C
1
527
Longitude direction, E = east; W = west

1 C = character, i.e., any character in the extended ASCHII character set; N = numeric.
2 Acronyms according to reference 2.
3 Depending on its length, the location may be divided between location fields 1 to 4.

Literature Cited

  1. Anonymous. 1984. Webster's New Geographical Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster Inc.
  2. Anonymous. 1985. The Times Atlas of the World, ed. 7. London: Times Books.
  3. Gibbs Russell, G.E. 1985. PRECIS: The National Herbarium's computerised information system. South African Journal of Science 81(2): 62-65.
  4. Gunn, M. and L.E. Codd. 1981. Botanical exploration of southern Africa. Cape Town: A.A. Balkema.
  5. Holmgren, P.K., N.H. Holmgren, and L.C. Barnett.1990. Index herbariorum. Part I: The Herbaria of the World. Bronx: New York Botanical Garden.
  6. Kirkbride, J.H., Jr. 1991. Interactive microcomputer database for identification of Cucumis. Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative, number 15.
  7. Kirkbride, J.H., Jr. 1992. Monograph of the genus Cucumis (Cucurbitaceae). Mem. New York. Bot. Gard., in press.
  8. Morris, J.W. and H.F. Glen. 1978. PRECIS, the National Herbarium of South Africa (PRE) computerized information system. Taxon 27(5/6): 449-462.
  9. Public Buildings Office. World wide geographic location codes. Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Services Administration.
  10. Polhill, D. 1988. Index of collecting localities. In Flora of Tropical East Africa, eds. E. Milne-Redhead and R.M. Polhill. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations.
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Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
Created by T.C. Wehner and T. Ng, 1 June 2005; design by C.T. Glenn;
send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 15 December, 2009