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Where the wild veggies are
Date:7/20/2010

populations from which the domesticated forms derive have been localized in the Himalayas. The genetic diversity of the varieties of C. melo that occur in India and China is particularly striking. "Our data also prove that the closest living relative of our garden cucumber is the species C. hystrix, which is found in the Eastern Himalayas", says Renner. "Future investigations of the phylogeny of Cucumis should therefore focus on Asia and Australia."

The new findings once again emphasize the great significance for modern botanical research of the herbarium materials that have been assembled over centuries and are now held in institutions like herbarium of the Bavarian Natural History Collections and the LMU's own herbarium. "Many of the plants we examined in this study were collected in the course of the 19th century, and most were then ignored and forgotten", says Renner, who is Director of these herbaria and the Munich Botanic Garden. "In many ways, this material represents an irreplaceable treasure, because the habitats in which much of it was collected no longer exist. Cucumis debilis, for instance, no longer grows at the location from which it was last collected in 1931. The site is now a suburb of Hanoi."


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Contact: Professor Susanne Renner
renner@lrz.uni-muenchen.de
49-891-786-1257
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt Mnchen
Source:Eurekalert

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