Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants
RESEARCH ARTICLE

An integrative morphological and molecular approach to identification of three Australian cucurbitaceous invasive weeds: Citrullus colocynthis, C. lanatus and Cucumis myriocarpus

Razia S. Shaik A E , Brendan J. Lepschi D , David Gopurenko B E , Nigel A. R. Urwin C , Geoffrey E. Burrows A E and Leslie A. Weston E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Locked Bag 588, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia.

B New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, PMB, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650, Australia.

C Faculty of Science, Charles Sturt University, Port Macquarie, NSW 2444, Australia.

D Australian National Herbarium, Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research, GPO Box 1600, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Present address: Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University, Locked Bag 588, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia. Email: rshaik@csu.edu.au

Australian Systematic Botany 29(5) 247-264 https://doi.org/10.1071/SB16027
Submitted: 21 June 2016  Accepted: 16 September 2016   Published: 22 December 2016

Abstract

Camel melon (Citrullus lanatus), colocynth (Citrullus colocynthis) and prickly paddy melon (Cucumis myriocarpus) are summer-growing invasive weeds distributed throughout Australia. We used DNA-sequence information from samples collected across Australia and morphological data from glasshouse-grown plants to determine diagnostic features of these species, and to determine the infraspecific identity of Australian Citrullus lanatus and Cucumis myriocarpus. All species possessed distinct genotypes and haplotypes at nuclear G3pdh and chloroplast ycf6–psbM gene regions and could be easily identified on the basis of molecular phylogenetic analysis. A combination of vegetative, floral, fruit and seed characters also allowed for species identification at all developmental stages. On the basis of our morphological and molecular analyses, Australian camel melon and prickly paddy melon populations were identified as Citrullus lanatus var. citroides and Cucumis myriocarpus subsp. myriocarpus respectively.

Additional keywords: G3pdh, infraspecific taxonomic identification, integrative taxonomy, key morphological characteristics, phylogenetic analysis, species identification, ycf6–psbM.


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