Horticulturae, Vol. 9, Pages 612: Algerian Fig Trees: Botanical and Morphometric Leaf Characterization
Horticulturae doi: 10.3390/horticulturae9050612
Leaf morphology in plants is very important in the evaluation of intraspecific variation. Indeed, the leaves of the fig tree (Ficus carica L.) present a great diversity of shape and size. The present study consists of the botanical, morphological, and morphometric characterization of the leaves of 26 local fig tree varieties cultivated in different areas of Bejaia (northeast Algeria). Our results indicate that the morphological parameters of the leaves allowed a good differentiation of the studied cultivars according to the descriptors (UPOV) among varieties and independent of their growing environment. Moreover, the method of morphometric description proposed in this paper allows the differentiation of varieties and the comparison among them in an objective way and by simple mathematical methods. This method demonstrates the existence of a very high percentage of polymorphisms within the studied varieties, but also their classification according to the number of lobes, the depth of the lateral sinuses, and the degree of openness of the angles performed by the main veins of the leaves. The Azougagh variety is characterized by wider angles, and, on the contrary, the Tassahlit variety has the least-open angles. None of the studied varieties presented &ldquo;entire&rdquo; leaves. The majority presented leaves with five lobes. The varieties Tilizwith, Tazarzourth, Avarkan, Tamkarkourth, and Inconnu B differed clearly from the rest by showing leaves with seven lobes and deep lateral sinuses. In contrast, the varieties Zarika, Baccor Blanc, Avarkan Lisse, and Avgaiti presented leaves with only three lobes. This is the first work on fig tree characterization using morphometric methods, which are shown to be complementary to the UPOV code and efficient in separating even the closed varieties. It will be interesting to extend these studies to larger scales and areas.
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