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Revista mexicana de biodiversidad

versión On-line ISSN 2007-8706versión impresa ISSN 1870-3453


LOPEZ-GUTIERREZ, Diana M. et al. Morphological comparison between wild and cultivated populations of Opuntia atropes (Cactaceae) in Michoacán, Mexico. Rev. Mex. Biodiv. [online]. 2015, vol.86, n.4, pp.1072-1077. ISSN 2007-8706.

Mexico has an ancient tradition of consumption of stems and fruits of Opuntia, of wild plants or plants in different degree of domestication. Even though Opuntia ficus-indica is the most cultivated species, there are other Opuntia species locally consumed and less well studied. This is the case of O. atropes native of Mexico and appreciated for its edible young cladodes "nopalitos". This study evaluated the morphological variability of wild, tolerated, of home gardens and commercial plantations, in order to know whether O. atropes is in the process of domestication and to explore which characteristics have been modified. Three study sites were selected in the state of Michoacán where a total of 120 plants were sampled. Fourteen morphological variables were analyzed using univariate and multivariate methods. A morphological divergence between individuals from managed and non-managed populations was observed. Inmature and mature cladodes from cultivated cactus pears were bigger, with more areoles and with less spines and glochids. These differences as well as its wide cultivated extension in Michoacán suggests that O. atropes is going through an evolutionary process of domestication.

Palabras llave : Domestication; Plant management; Cactus pear; Morphological variation.

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