Vocal for local: Diversity of local cucurbits cultivars in East Siang, Arunachal Pradesh
Laying more and more importance on mere edible yield through introduction of high-yielding, uniform cultivars is leading to compromising on nutritional quality of crops coupled with loss of biodiversity. In spite of this scenario, there are still many local cultivars, which are indigenously grown for long time approximately for more than five decades, and have
its own heritage which is sustained by family groups, regions and ethnicity. The traditional names, unique appearance, uses, and historical significance give recognition to these local cultivars. In the present study, 15 morphologically diverse local cultivars of cucurbits with numerous landraces have been documented from the sample area. Of these, seven species
especially in pumpkin, ash guard, bottle gourd and Cucumis melo spp. are produced by the Adi tribe of East Siang. These traditional cultivars have been cultivated for many generations, particularly for their attributes such as superior flavor and its high adaptability under biotic and abiotic stress. Other traits such as productivity, nutritional and nutraceutical properties of traditional cultivars of these cucurbits are to be well understood. However, such information is not organizedly available, and therefore the purpose of this study was to capture some of the unique traits of local cultivars. Such information may help
designing breeding programs for developing locally adapted, high-value cultivars.
Cucurbitaceous vegetables, East Siang, Heirloom cultivars, Morphological diversity, Mainstreaming
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