Charles Heiser Special Contributed Paper Session
Eshbaugh, W. Hardy .
A Current View on the Taxonomy of Capsicum L. (Solanaceae).
My research on the genus Capsicum began in 1964 soon after I arrived at Indian University and came under the influence of Charles B. Heiser, Jr. It has continued for what is now approaching 50 years. Capsicum was an endemic genus to the Americas in pre-Colombian times. However, once discovered it spread to the Old World and took on an importance that in many ways exceeded its significance in the New World. Chili peppers transformed the diet of the world and continue to do so. People in the Old World, especially in Africa and Asia, do not believe that hot red peppers have a history of no more than 500 years in that part of the world. The mystique of chilipeppers, Capsicum, and everything about them has evolved into an abundance of books, products, festivals,recipes, and restaurants. Capsicum is among the earliest New World domesticates. The archaeological record indicates that chilipeppers have a long history in several locations in Latin America. Evidence from a genus-specific starch morphotype indicates that domesticated C. annuum dates back to at least 6000 BPat several locations in the western hemisphere. Linnaeus named several species of Capsicum in the 18Th century. In 19th century the size of genus Capsicum increased exponentially with the naming of more than 150 taxa. Various experimental studies in the second half of the 20th century refined our understanding of species limits with the recognition of no more than 24 species. Now, with new discoveries in the 21st century, we recognize at least 36 species with as many as five new species still to be named and described from Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia. Recent studies show that the wild species of Capsicum can be divided into two distinct evolutionary lines based on chromosome numbers of x = 12 and 13.
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1 - Miami University, Botany, 700 East High Street, Oxford, OH, 45056, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Location: Lindell D/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 8:15 AM