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Amponsah J.,University of Ghana | Adamtey N.,Ghana Atomic Energy Commission | Elegba W.,Biotechnologyand Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute | Danso K.E.,University of Ghana | Danso K.E.,Biotechnologyand Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute
AoB PLANTS | Year: 2013

In spite of the huge economic importance of Aframomum melegueta in the herbal and pharmaceutical industries, its production is limited by lack of planting materials (propagules). The plant also lacks scientific descriptors, which has often led to misidentification with adverse health implications.We thereforeaimed atdeveloping adescriptor list to facilitate the identification of A. melegueta using 34 morphometric traits comprising 18 quantitative and 16 qualitative characters. The morphological traits showed that A. melegueta has a characteristic stolon that produces tillers instead of rhizomes. The unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean using both the nearest-neighbour and complete-linkage methods based on the 34 morphometric traits clustered the eight accessions into two main groups based on ecological location. The accessions from the Eastern and Ashanti regions were separated at similarity coefficients of 0.822and 0.644, respectively, with ahighly significant discriminant function. The Eastern accessionswere further clustered into red or yellow fruits at similarity indexes of 0.936 and 0.865 using the nearest-neighbour and complete-linkage methods, respectively. The present study has shown that morphometric traits of A. melegueta are greatly influenced by its ecological habitat. It is envisaged that the descriptor list developed coupled with a morphometric description would enhance its identification and utilization. © The Authors 2013.

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