A collection of melon (Cucumis melo L.) from
Kerala state, Southern India, consisting of thirty three accessions was
evaluated for 22 quantitative and 14 qualitative characteristics to estimate
the phenotypic diversity. The collection showed appreciable phenotypic
diversity in fruit related traits. Principal component analysis (PCA) was
performed to determine the relationships among the populations. The analysis
revealed that the
variations in stem hair length, number of nodes per plant on 60th day, fruit
shape, fruit length, fruit weight, fruit colour at ripening, fruit rind hardness,
flesh colour, flesh firmness, quality of flesh, shelf life, seed colour were the principle characters to discriminate
melon accessions evaluated in the present study. When the 33 populations were
plotted on the first two principal components, accounting for 49.97% of the
total variation, three clusters were identified, accounting for 36
morphological attributes used in the study. The greater part of diversity was
accounted for fruit diameter, fruit weight, fruit length and width, fruit
cavity length and diameter, seed length and colour. Flesh area of fruit, flesh
thickness, leaf size, seed weight, seed index did not account for variation in
the first six principal components of the melon collection. Scatter diagram
segregated the acidulus and momordica into different clusters. This
evaluation of fruit trait variability can assist geneticists and breeders to
identify populations with desirable characteristics for inclusion in various
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