This study characterised pollen grains morphologically and studied the genetic divergence between accessions based on morphopollinic characters. Seven accessions, including domesticated, semi-domesticated and wild species of Capsicum (C. annuum var. annuum, C. chinense, C. baccatum var. pendulum, C. frutescens, Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum, C. baccatum var. baccatum and C. parvifolium), were cultivated in a greenhouse and their pollen grains collected and fixed during flowering. The pollen grains were acetolysed and described based on 13 pollinic characteristics (polar and equatorial axes, in an equatorial front view; ratio between polar axis and equatorial axis; equatorial axis in a polar view; thicknesses of the exine, sexine and nexine; apocolpus side; polar area index; length and diameter of the pore and colpus). The genetic divergence analysis between the accessions was based on the standardised average Euclidean distance, and the grouping analysis was based on Ward's method. PCA (principal component analysis) is another multivariate method that was used. Based on Ward's method and PCA, it was possible to group the accessions into two groups, and the groups formed correlated with the classification of the gene pool complexes already described for the genus. According to this classification, the Capsicum genus comprises three major groups: C. annuum, C. chinense and C. frutescens form the annuum complex; C. baccatum and C. pratermissum form the baccatum complex; and C. eximium, C. cardenasii and C. pubescens form the pubescens complex. The variable width of the pores was the most discriminating in this morphopollinic study of Capsicum spp.
Solanaceae, Capsicum spp.; multivariate analysis; pollen grains