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Systematics and Evolution of Eleusine coracana (Gramineae)

J. M. J. De Wet, K. E. Prasada Rao, D. E. Brink and M. H. Mengesha
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 71, No. 4 (Apr., 1984), pp. 550-557
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2443330
Page Count: 8
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Systematics and Evolution of Eleusine coracana (Gramineae)
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Abstract

Finger millet (Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn. subsp. coracana) is cultivated in eastern and southern Africa and in southern Asia. The closest wild relative of finger millet is E. coracana subsp. africana (Kennedy-O'Byrne) Hilu & de Wet. Wild finger millet (subsp. africana) is native to Africa but was introduced as a weed to the warmer parts of Asia and America. Derivatives of hybrids between subsp. coracana and subsp. africana are companion weeds of the crop in Africa. Cultivated finger millets are divided into five races on the basis of inflorescence morphology. Race coracana is widely distributed across the range of finger millet cultivation. It is present in the archaeological record of early African agriculture that may date back 5,000 years. Racial evolution took place in Africa. Races vulgaris, elongata, plana, and compacta evolved from race coracana, and were introduced into India some 3,000 years ago. Little independent racial evolution took place in India.

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